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Case 43:  Milwaukee Police Reverse Discrimination

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Case 43 Index:

1 Milwaukee Police Report
2 Milwaukee Demographics
3 The Plaintiffs
4 Attorney for the Plaintiffs
5 Footnotes / Sources
6 Additional Reading
Black former Milwaukee police chief Arthur Jones promoted less-qualified minorities and women ahead of 17 white officers.  A federal jury awarded the officers $2.2 million for reverse discrimination.
[Adversity.Net Posted June 5, 2005] -- A federal jury found that Milwaukee's former black police chief, Arthur Jones, repeatedly and intentionally by-passed the 17 white male officers for promotions in favor of less qualified women and minority candidates.

          "...everyone Jones promoted to captain after less than two years in a lieutenant's job was not a white male."  -- Plaintiff's attorney William Rettko.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Milwaukee is located in the lower Eastern corner of Wisconsin.
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(1) The Milwaukee Police Report

Top: Milwaukee Police Discrimination
Next: Milwaukee Demographics
ADVERSITY.NET REPORT:  "Jurors awarded a total of nearly $2.2 million Tuesday [April 5, 2005] to 17 white police officers who won a discrimination lawsuit against a former [black] police chief [Arthur Jones] and the city." 1
          U.S. District Judge Thomas Curran in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin presided over the trial.
Milwaukee Police           "The Milwaukee Police Department and Jones were found to have engaged in reverse discrimination in promotions to captain in a month-long trial.  Jones made 41 promotions to captain over the seven years he served as police chief." 2
          "Jones appointed 41 captains, 20 of whom were not white men, during his tenure, in which the pool of lieutenants was consistently composed of more than 80% white men." 2.1
          "[Plaintiff's attorney William Rettko] said several times that Jones had favored promoting members of minorities because he feared a 'white conspiracy' against him.  'The chief views the world in black and white terms,' Rettko said." 2.2
Former black chief
Former Milwaukee Police Chief Arthur Jones.
          "[During the trial, attorney] Rettko sent each of his plaintiffs to the  [witness] stand to discuss his credentials at length and his thoughts about how those who were promoted compared. Often times, the comparison favored the 17 plaintiffs, which Rettko underscored by repeating that everyone Jones promoted to captain after less than two years in a lieutenant's job was not a white male." [Emphasis added.]
2.3
          " 'Things need to be done differently than they've been done in the past,' said Rettko, who was flanked by all 17 officers on the courthouse steps.  'We're hopeful that message was sent loud and clear to everyone.' " 3
          "Jury foreman Tom Groescel said the most persuasive testimony came from [former chief] Jones, who is black, in explaining how he promoted employees.  'They were just subjective. There was no criteria to base with anything,' Groescel said. 'For heaven's sakes, look at peoples' evaluations.' " 4
          "[On the witness stand, the plaintiff's] descriptions of years of sleepless nights, strained marriages and stunted careers turned out to be the only testimony that will be heard in the damages phase of the suit. Several of the plaintiffs seemed surprised when the defense counsel, Assistant City Attorney Miriam Horwitz, said she would not call any witnesses." 5
          "The plaintiffs' testimony dwelt on common themes of how much each man had suffered, mentally and physically, once they became convinced [that former black chief] Jones wouldn't promote them. Their attorney, William Rettko, summed up their ailments in his opening statement: 'Sleepless nights, the anxiety, the depression, the marital strain that this has caused them, the self-esteem loss, the embarrassment.' " 6
          "The plaintiffs' frank descriptions of personal anguish can factor into their award amounts, if the jury accepts them at face value.  Several plaintiffs also testified that the act of filing the suit, no matter the merits, effectively short-circuited their careers by alienating them within the MPD." 7
          "... Bradley DeBraska, former president of the Milwaukee police union, was pleased with the U.S. District Court jury's decision Tuesday that found Jones participated in reverse discrimination.  'This speaks volumes as to the promotional process and how it should be conducted and that it should be on merit and competency and not on race, gender, or sexual orientation or other protected characteristics,' DeBraska said." 8
          "[The] federal jury set the cost of former Police Chief Arthur Jones' discrimination against [the] 17 white male lieutenants at nearly $2.2 million Tuesday afternoon [April 5, 2005], ending a month long trial and the officers' two-year effort to prove the black police chief was biased.  'I don't want to gloat or anything,' said their attorney, William Rettko, 'but I'm pleased.' 

          "The jury, which last week found that each plaintiff had been wrongfully passed over multiple times for promotions to captain in favor of less-qualified women and members of ethnic minorities, took less than four hours to decide the damages."
9
          "Compensatory damages ranged from $9,500 to $50,000 for each of the officers, while each should also get $102,000 in punitive damages from the city." 9.1
          " 'Total victory,' proclaimed lead plaintiff Steven Alexander, a police lieutenant, into his cell phone after the verdict, which could cost the city millions and force immediate promotions to captain for the 13 plaintiffs who are still lieutenants." 10

Adversity.Net Special Report:  Excerpted from various news sources.  See Footnotes below, or click on the appropriate Footnote Number next to the text for complete source attribution.


(2) Milwaukee Demographics

Prev: Milwaukee Report
Next: The Plaintiffs
Minorities are less than 13% of Wisconsin's population!           According to the U.S. Census 2000, racial minorities comprise only 13% of Wisconsin's population.  87% of Wisconsin's population is white.

          Nonetheless, about 50% of former Milwaukee police chief Arthur Jones' promotions to captain were minorities and women in spite of the facts that:
(A) Wisconsin's population is only 13% minorities; and
(B) 80% of the promotion pool (lieutenants who were eligible and qualified for promotion) were white males.

          Milwaukee and certain other cities and counties in Wisconsin have attracted a much higher concentration of minorities than the more rural areas of the state.  There are several reasons that only a few urbanized counties in Wisconsin have attracted such a disproportionate number of minority residents:
  • Government and private sector jobs are more plentiful in these counties.
  • Affirmative action programs and racial quotas are used by all government employers and most private employers in these urbanized counties.
  • The tax base in these counties and cities is high enough to be able to support a wide range of social services and welfare programs.
Wisconsin Minorities Are Concentrated in Cities
The highest concentration of non-whites in Wisconsin is in the counties and cities with the strongest racial quota programs and 'social services' (welfare).

(3) The Plaintiffs

Prev: Milwaukee Demographics
Next: Attorney for Plaintiffs

          The following 17 current and former officers of the Milwaukee Police Department filed this lawsuit:

Steven Alexander
David Vahl
Edward Liebrecht
Ronald Quackenbush
Keith A. Balash
Charles A. Berard
Michael R. Brunow
James C. Cleveland
Joseph J. Farina
John Malloy Hagen
William E. Heinen
Wayne W. Jensen
Thomas P. Klusman
Anthony T. Smith
Steven J. Spingola
Kim R. Stack
Michael D. Young

(4) Attorney for the 17 White Officers

Prev: The Plaintiffs
Next: Footnotes

          William Rettko of the Rettko Law Offices, S.C., has won many cases for aggrieved police officers.  This case represents his latest victory.

Attorney Contact Info:

William Rettko
Rettko Law Offices
15430 West Capitol Drive
Brookfield, WI 53005

Tel:  (262) 783-7200


(5) Milwaukee Police Story Footnotes:

Prev: Attorney for Plaintiffs
Next: Recommended Reading
1. AP via TwinCities.Com 04/06/05.
JURY AWARDS $2.2 MILLION IN POLICE CHIEF BIAS SUIT by Juliet Williams, AP at para. 1.  Last known link to story (new window):
http://www.twincities.com/mld/pioneerpress/news/local/11319264.htm1c
Return to Text
2. UPI via news.usti.net 04/06/05.
JURY AWARDS MILWAUKEE COPS $2.2 MILLION at para. 2.  Last known link to story (new window):
http://news.usti.net/home/news/cn/?/world.law/2/wed/cq/Uus-discrimination.RCzM_FA6.html
Return to Text
2.1 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Online 03/28/05.
CLOSING ARGUMENTS PUT BIAS LAWSUIT IN JURORS' HANDS by Derrick Nunnally at para. 6.  Last known link to story (new window):
http://www.jsonline.com/news/metro/mar05/313439.asp
Return to Text
2.2 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Online 03/28/05.
CLOSING ARGUMENTS PUT BIAS LAWSUIT IN JURORS' HANDS by Derrick Nunnally at para. 14.  Last known link to story (new window):
http://www.jsonline.com/news/metro/mar05/313439.asp
Return to Text
2.3 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Online 03/29/05.
JONES DISCRIMINATED, JURY FINDS by Derrick Nunnally and Gina Barton at para. 18.  Last known link to story (new window):
http://www.jsonline.com/news/metro/mar05/313861.asp
Return to Text
3. AP via Duluth News Tribune 04/05/05
JURY AWARDS $2.2 MILLION TO MILWAUKEE OFFICERS IN DISCRIMINATION SUIT by Juliet Williams, AP at para. 5.  Last known link to story (new window):
http://www.duluthsuperior.com/mld/duluthsuperior/news/politics/11312425.htm
Return to Text
4. AP via Duluth News Tribune 04/05/05
JURY AWARDS $2.2 MILLION TO MILWAUKEE OFFICERS IN DISCRIMINATION SUIT by Juliet Williams, AP at para. 9.  Last known link to story (new window):
http://www.duluthsuperior.com/mld/duluthsuperior/news/politics/11312425.htm
Return to Text
5. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Online 04/04/05
PLAINTIFFS TELL OF PERSONAL ANGUISH by Derrick Nunnally at para. 2.  Last known link to story (new window):
http://www.jsonline.com/news/metro/apr05/315398.asp
Return to Text
6. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Online 04/04/05
PLAINTIFFS TELL OF PERSONAL ANGUISH by Derrick Nunnally at para. 7.  Last known link to story (new window):
http://www.jsonline.com/news/metro/apr05/315398.asp
Return to Text
7. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Online 04/04/05
PLAINTIFFS TELL OF PERSONAL ANGUISH by Derrick Nunnally at para. 16.  Last known link to story (new window):
http://www.jsonline.com/news/metro/apr05/315398.asp
Return to Text
8. AP via Duluth New Tribune 03/30/05
BLACK OFFICERS WORRY AFTER JURY FINDS PROMOTIONS DISCRIMINATORY by Carrie Antlfinger, AP at para. 3.  Last known link to story (new window):
http://www.duluthsuperior.com/mld/duluthsuperior/11270134.htm%3CM
Return to Text
9. FindArticles.Com 04/05
JURY AWARDS OFFICERS $2.2 MILLION; JONES' PERSONAL LIABILITY REMAINS by Derrick Nunnally, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, at para. 1.  Last known link to story (new window):
http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4196/is_200504/ai_n13565854
Return to Text
9.1 AP via TwinCities.Com 04/06/05.
JURY AWARDS $2.2 MILLION IN POLICE CHIEF BIAS SUIT by Juliet Williams, AP at para. 3.  Last known link to story (new window):
http://www.twincities.com/mld/pioneerpress/news/local/11319264.htm1c
Return to Text
10. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Online 03/29/05.
JONES DISCRIMINATED, JURY FINDS by Derrick Nunnally and Gina Barton at para. 5.  Last known link to story (new window):
http://www.jsonline.com/news/metro/mar05/313861.asp
Return to Text

(6) Recommended Additional Reading

Prev: Footnotes
Next: Site Index
Police, Fire, Municipal Cases: Adversity.Net Link Location:
Flint, Michigan Fire Dept. Sued for Anti-White Bias (updated 02-14-05) Case 38
adversity.net/FlintFD/default.htm
Boston Fire Dept. Racial Quotas Ended (posted 11-24-03) Case 37
adversity.net/BostonFD/default.htm
Philadelphia Fire Dept. Racial Quotas Continue (updated 10-17-03) Case 34
adversity.net/philly/default.htm
Suffolk County, NY Police Dept. (updated 12-16-03) Case 21
adversity.net/draft6/c21_tbd.htm
White Orange County, FL Firefighters WIN! (updated 10-23-98) Case 11
adversity.net/c11_tbd.htm
Illinois State Police Guilty of Reverse Discrimination (updated 8-22-98) Case 10
adversity.net/c10_tbd.htm
Black Fulton County, GA Sheriff Discriminates Against White Officers (1998) Case 8
adversity.net/c8_tbd.htm
Seattle FD Attempts to Squash White Firefighter for Making Fun of Quotas (9-21-98) Case 6
adversity.net/c6_tbd.htm
Police, Fire and Municipal News Clips adversity.net/0_PoliceFireMuni/PFM_frame.htm

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END CASE 43:  Milwaukee Police Reverse Discrimination

 

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*  We use the term reverse discrimination reluctantly and only because it is so widely understood.  In our opinion there really is only one kind of discrimination.