9 Black Boston Police Officers Sue City For Bias Promotion Exam

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Nine Black police supervisors have filed a lawsuit against the city of Boston for allegedly not being allowed to advance because of a discriminatory promotion exam, according to the Boston Globe.

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The claimants are demanding that the city do away with the multiple choice lieutenant’s test, because historically, Black and Latino minorities have fared worse on the tests than their Asian or white counterparts.

The Boston police department currently employs 51 lieutenants, and of this number, only two are Black men and one is Asian.  The law enforcement pecking order’s next in line position would be captains, and out of 23, only one is Black and he is retiring this month.

This federal lawsuit was filed more than a year after attorneys represented 44 minority patrolmen, who griped about unfair and prejudiced sergeant’s exams against the Black and Latino populations.

Boston’s police officers have not taken a promotional exam since 2008 and are awaiting a decision from U.S. District Court Judge George O’Toole who has yet to make a ruling in the case.

There are those who contend that the test merely relies on memory as opposed to presenting candidates with true-life situation scenario questions. The exam then asks them to provide logical responses.

City officials have fiercely defended the traditional test-taking route and have opposed any suggestions for alternative exams. Last year, Sinnott, the city’s corporation counsel, said that the sergeant’s exam is a valid way to assess a candidate’s knowledge and skills. “That was true then and it is true now,’’ Sinnott told the Boston Globe.

Thus far, there have been no comments from the Boston police department regarding the case.
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