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DOJ files discrimination suit against Indianapolis

Michael W. Hoskins
January 1, 2007
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The United States Department of Justice is suing Indianapolis based on allegations that the city discriminated against eight white police officers in denying them promotions.

The complaint, United State of America v. City of Indianapolis, was filed in the U.S. District Court's Southern District in Indianapolis Wednesday and alleges that white female officers and black male officers on promotion eligibility lists were promoted in 2005 before other officers ranked higher. Officers alleging discrimination are Scott A. Hessong, Benjamin D. Hunter, Brandon C. Laser, Brent E. Hendricks, Brent D. Miller, Daniel R. Green, Robert M. McClary, and Thomas I. Black, all whom are individually or formerly employed as patrol officers.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission investigated the claims and determined that Indianapolis had violated the officers' civil rights, later referring the matters to the DOJ after unsuccessfully trying to reach a voluntary resolution, the suit says.

Claims accuse the city of "failing or refusing to promote or timely promote such individuals to the merit rank ... on the basis of their race and/or sex; and failing or refusing to take appropriate action to remedy the effects of the discriminatory treatment."

The DOJ wants "remedial relief" for the losses the officers have suffered, as well as an enjoinment stopping the city from engaging in race and sex discrimination in its police promotions.
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  1. Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend in December, but U.S. District Judge Robert Miller later reduced that to about $540,000 to put the damages for suffering under the statutory cap of $300,000.

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