|By State and City:
Jury awards white firefighter $250,000 in job
discrimination case (02/08/04) - <newer>
"A federal jury ordered the city of Mobile to pay more than $250,000 to a white
firefighter in a suit over a job promotion that went to a black coworker with less
"Fire Capt. Alan Silvester claimed Fire Chief Stephen Dean, also white, discriminated
against Silvester on the basis of race in promoting black firefighter Mike Trenier to an
"Trenier finished second to Silvester on the application test for the job. Dean and
other witnesses testified, however, that department heads legally can choose any of the 10
finalists for a job opening, as determined by the Personnel Board. Dean said he selected
Trenier primarily because of his high grade-point average and the fact that, while serving
as interim fire administrator, he oversaw an important accreditation process for the
department. Dean declined to comment on the jury's decision.
"A city lawyer, Paul Carbo, said he did not immediately know whether city officials
would appeal Friday's verdict returned by an eight-member jury with one black person on
it. Dean had set a goal of achieving greater racial balance in the Fire Department ranks.
The department was more than 90 percent white in the early 1990s and remains about 80
percent white today. The issue of whether Silvester will be promoted now rests with Chief
U.S. District Judge Ginny Granade."
Last known link:
City OKs settling bias
20-year-old discrimination suit to
end with $1.4 million payment
"The City of Birmingham will pay up to $1.4 million to end a 20-year-old lawsuit
filed by white firefighters challenging the city's affirmative action plan, officials said
"The settlement is on behalf of 22 white plaintiffs, including firefighters, police
officers and a city parks employee, who sued in the 1980s.
"The agreement provides $1.1 million for a back pay pool and additional money for
pension adjustments because some people have retired or are close to retirement, said
Raymond Fitzpatrick, an attorney for the plaintiffs.
"The settlement came after a renewed effort by both sides this year to settle the
legal dispute that garnered national attention and went twice to the U.S. Supreme Court.
"The legal quagmire started shortly after the city agreed in 1981 to settle a 1974
class-action discrimination lawsuit filed by the NAACP and black firefighters. The city
settled for $265,000, a fraction of what it would have cost to provide back pay to black
firefighters at the time.
"A group of white male firefighters sued shortly after the plan, saying they suffered
unfairly because of the policy and were illegally passed over for promotions."
(The Birmingham News 08/05/00 by Val Waltom)
Anaheim Fire Fighters Punished for
Criticizing Reverse Discrimination
Jimmie Lee Cox, John Lynn Cox, and Gregory J. Mowad complained about the reverse
discrimination in the Anaheim Fire Department. The Department retaliated by screwing
up their careers! They are suing. (Orange County Register 5/1/98)
Fresno State Loses Reverse Discrimination Case (08/12/00)
Fresno State loses discrimination case:
Campus police officer and two ex-officers are awarded $4 million.
"A jury on Friday [Aug. 11, 2000] awarded three men more than $4 million because of
racial and reverse discrimination they endured while employed with the police department
at California State University, Fresno.
"Former employees Steven King and Daniel Horsford and current Fresno State Sgt.
Richard Snow each were awarded more than $1 million for the preferential treatment they
claimed the university gave to African-Americans over whites."
Fresno County Superior Court Judge Donald S. Black ordered the California State University
Board of Regents to pay a total of $4.25 million.
Plaintiffs Steven King, Daniel Horsford and Fresno State Sgt. Richard Snow claimed in the
suit that Fresno State Chief Willie Shell engaged in the following, discriminatory
- Chief Shell went to the bottom of the list of
qualified candidates in order to promote minorities over more highly-qualified
- Of six new hires during Willie Shell's tenure as
chief, 5 were minorities and 1 was the son of a friend of Chief Shell's.
- Chief Shell allegedly told a fellow officer
"It's time to get the white boys out".
- While at Fresno State, Chief Shell misused a
confidential law enforcement computer to conduct unauthorized background checks on his
employees, critics, and other private citizens who had no criminal charges pending against
- Under Chief Shell's "leadership" the
department gave hiring and promotion preference to protected minorities even when they
were not as well qualified as the rejected non-minorities.
As it turns out, Chief Willie Shell also had a prior history of "stretching the
law" in order to advance his pro-quota policies.
In 1997 a Kern County grand jury indicted Chief Shell for embezzling funds and performing
unauthorized background checks on employees and private citizens during his service as
police chief at the California State University Bakersfield campus. The indictment
was handed down prior to his assuming the job of Chief at Fresno.
As a result of the 1997 Bakersfield indictment, Chief Shell entered a no contest plea
regarding charges that he had falsified expense reports and had misused the confidential
law enforcement computer system. He was sentenced at that time to 3 years'
The unauthorized background checks Shell conducted while at CSU Bakersfield are
startlingly similar to misuse of the system he allegedly performed at Fresno State.
Fresno State plaintiffs Steven King, Daniel Horsford and Fresno State Sgt. Richard Snow
alleged in their suit that they were subjected to harassment by Chief Shell and his
minions, and that they were subjected to retaliation for calling attention to Chief Willie
Shell's abusive use of the law enforcement computer background check system, and they wer
victimized by Shell's dedication to promoting minorities ahead of non-minorities,
apparently regardless of the qualifications of the candidates.
Shell's retaliation against the Fresno campus cops allegedly included demoting the
plaintiffs, forcing one or more plaintiffs out of the department, and moving one or more
plaintiffs to lower paying jobs within the campus police force.
Chief Willie Shell was forced to resign his position as police chief of the Fresno State
campus police in April 1, 1997 at which time he "retired".
Fresno State's complicity in "reverse discriminating" against the plaintiffs
resulted in the following jury awards to the victims:
- Steven King received $300,000 for economic damage
and $1 million for emotional distress. He is now police chief at a college in Oakland.
- Current Fresno State Sgt. Richard Snow was not
awarded any economic damages because he is still employed at Fresno State, but he did
receive $1.2 million for emotional distress.
- Daniel Horsford was awarded $250,000 in economic
compensation and $1.5 million for emotional damages. He is now a fraud investigator with
the California State Department of Motor Vehicles.
One of the lawyers for the plaintiffs, Mr. Dean B. Gordon, indicated that the purpose of
their 1997 lawsuit against Fresno State was to ensure that employment decisions are made
on merit and qualifications, and not on irrelevant factors such as race or gender.
The plaintiffs' suit was not intended in any way to divide the community. (Based on the
Fresno Bee article 08/12/00 by Michael Baker)
[alternate link, same: http://www.lasvegassun.com/sunbin/stories/nat-gen/2000/aug/12/081200551.html
[alternate link, same, Pay Site: http://www.chronicle.com/daily/2000/08/2000081403n.htm
California (Los Angeles):
Firefighter WINS $3.75 Million Reverse Discrimination Lawsuit (06/13/07)
Adversity.Net Special Report: White LA Fire Captain Frank Lima evaluated recruit
Ms. Melissa B. Kelley in a non-sexist, non-racist way: he evaluated her according to
the standards set for male fire dept. recruits. As a result, Capt. Lima was punished
for NOT treating women more leniently than men. Capt. Lima sued for discrimination
and he won $3.75 million.
California (Los Angeles):
detective loses $1.3 million verdict against LAPD
"A $1.34 million jury verdict for a black Los Angeles police detective, who sought a
promotion to an elite helicopter squad for 15 years, is gone, a casualty of higher courts.
So is his lawsuit and his nearly 25-year police career.
"The state Supreme Court denied review Wednesday of Patrick Green's appeal of a
lower-court ruling that found no evidence of racial discrimination to support the jury's
decision. Justices Stanley Mosk and Joyce Kennard voted to hear the case, two short of the
majority needed on the seven-member court. [T]he appeals court said no reasonable
jury would have found discrimination in Green's 1993 rejection. The panel was entitled to
conclude that a white officer was more qualified than Green, said the opinion by Justice
Margaret Grignon. (The case is Green vs. City of Los Angeles, S075226.)" -
(Associated Press, via Oregon Live, by Bob Egelko 02/04/99)
Police Refuse to Track Driver's Race (04/28/99)
"Oakland Police Chief Joseph Samuels Jr. agreed yesterday to convene public meetings
on the nationally debated issue of racial profiling, saying the community's input will be
more helpful than keeping track of the race of drivers who are stopped.
"While Samuels stressed at a news conference that ``there is no place for bias in our
business,'' he said his officers will not note the race, age or sex of drivers they pull
over, as proposed by state and federal legislation.
"The chief, who opposes the collection of such data, said the practice would be too
costly and could jeopardize officer safety. He feared the collection of the data would
lead to ``analysis paralysis,'' without any tangible results. (San Francisco Chronicle,
Wed. 04/28/99, Page A15, by Henry K. Lee)
Police bias-suit win stirs citywide
fairness debate (04/08/99 - dead)
"Was it backlash or a step forward for civil rights? That was the question many
community leaders wrestled with Wednesday in the wake of a federal jury verdict this week
that found former Sacramento Deputy Police Chief Fred Arthur and former Capt. Michael Shaw
were forced out of the department for being white and middle-aged.
"The nine-member federal jury ruled unanimously Monday in favor of Arthur and Shaw,
who claimed they suffered from hostile working conditions after the hiring of Chief Arturo
Venegas Jr. in 1993.
"Speaking for the first time about jury deliberations, forewoman Peg Taylor said
Wednesday that the finding of discrimination and harassment was a case of "one
instance after another that made it look pervasive." There was more evidence of
age discrimination than of race discrimination, Taylor said. "But it all played a
part. The evidence on both issues was persuasive."
"Taylor cited a comment made in a 1993 management seminar set up by Venegas. A
consultant referred to "middle-aged white boys" being "bureaucratic
barriers to change," according to testimony in the 16-day trial. "When you
start throwing around terms like 'middle-aged white boys,' somebody is going to take it as
discrimination," she said. (Sacramento Bee 04/08/99 by Pamela Martineau and
*http://www.sacbee.com/news/news/local02_19990408.html] + see related, below.
settlement for ex-cop (04/07/99 - dead)
SACRAMENTO - "The city agreed Tuesday to pay retired Sacramento Police Capt. Michael
Shaw $300,000 for the harassment and discrimination that a federal jury found Monday drove
him from the force.
"The conditional settlement came shortly before jurors were to hear testimony on how
much Shaw deserved in lost wages and for emotional stress stemming from the city's illegal
actions. Shaw had sought $1.4 million, but he and attorney Leo Donahue were
satisfied with the new pact: $100,000 for economic damages and $200,000 for trauma or
other noneconomic damages.
"It is a compromise that serves the purpose of the plaintiff and, we assume, the
defendant," Donahue said. Donahue said the city also will have to pay his fees
-- expected to exceed $500,000. The city's attorney, Thomas Cregger, would not estimate
costs of fighting the 4-year-old suit.
Former Deputy Chief Fred Arthur, a co-plaintiff, had sought $3.1 million in damages. But
the jury found that while he, too, had been subjected to harassment and discrimination, he
wasn't entitled to compensation because he signed a waiver upon leaving the force.
(Sacramento Bee 04/07/99 by Denny Walsh)
Firefighter wins jury award in reverse
bias case (06/29/99 - dead link)
"A San Diego city firefighter who contended he was passed over for promotion because
he is a white male has been awarded more than $200,000 by a Superior Court jury that
decided he had faced discrimination.
"Kirk Humphries filed his lawsuit after he was passed over five times for the job of
fire engineer. Humphries, who was promoted to fire engineer five months after his lawsuit
was filed, said he hopes the jury's verdict sends a message to the Fire Department.
'What I hope this does is shine enough light on what's happening that they're going to
change the system and make it fair for everybody, not because you're a minority or a
female,' he said.
"Humphries' lawyer, Jeff Geraci, declined to comment, and Deputy City Attorney Mark
Stiffler could not be reached for comment. However, in court documents Stiffler and city
officials denied that the Fire Department had a promotion policy which gave preferential
treatment to women and minorities.
"After a trial before Superior Court Judge Vincent DiFiglia, jurors returned their
verdict Wednesday, awarding Humphries $4,800 in economic damages for lost wages and
$200,000 in noneconomic damages for his suffering and emotional distress.
"Humphries joined the department in 1982 after working as a city lifeguard. Assigned
to an Otay Mesa fire station, Humphries said he has a bachelor of arts degree in
industrial science from San Diego State University, an associate's degree in fire science
from Miramar College and an associate's degree in applied art from Mesa College.
"He said he has worked as a substitute teacher in the San Diego Unified School
District and has certificates to teach high school industrial arts and community college
courses in fire science. 'They promoted several people over me who didn't have a
degree in fire science, didn't have any degrees,' Humphries said. 'It felt like
across the board in the Fire Department there's an affirmative-action policy to promote
females and minorities.'" (San Diego Union Tribune 06/29/99 by Anne Krueger and Ray
California (San Jose):
Organization Formed (07/02/99 - dead
"Hoping to follow in the footsteps of blacks, Latinos and women, a group of white San
Jose firefighters is seeking official recognition for a new group: the European American
"Of the city's 17 employee associations, which are subject to approval by the city
manager's office, this would be the first whose primary mission is to advance the
interests of whites. While a few similar organizations have cropped up elsewhere in the
nation, they are still rare.
"Capt. James Roszell, the new organization's president, said its members want to help
improve human relations in the city and in the fire department, which has been roiled by
lawsuits involving racial politics and affirmative action.
"The association would model itself after groups such as the Santa Clara County Black
Firefighters Association, Women in the Fire Service and Bomberos of Northern California,
which represents Latino firefighters. 'The other groups have set a good example for
us,' said Roszell, who has served in the department for 26 years. 'They've been
involved in positive things. We're just trying to do the same.'"
Prof. Charles Gallagher, a sociologist at Georgia State University said: "Many
whites think it's only fair that they should be able to form the same sorts of
organizations as blacks, Latinos and Asians. They see themselves as members of a
racial group with its own interests. The problem is, how do you promote a white agenda in
a non-racist way so that you don't become demonized? That's what these groups are
trying to do.
"A recruitment flier included in the association's application states: 'The
EAFF will provide a safe and comfortable place for European Americans to meet and to
discuss issues that affect our lives, to celebrate our heritage, and to minimize
discrimination and defamation directed against European American firefighters and other
firefighters in the San Jose Fire Department.'"
Not surprisingly, several of the minority-employee organizations have expressed
displeasure with the idea of European Americans having an organization of their own
devoted to the unique problems associated with being European American in the San Jose
Fire Department. (Based on The San Jose Mercury News story published 07/02/99 by Ben
California (San Jose):
Bill Lann Lee (DOJ) Praises Race
Reporting by S.J. Cops (04/19/99 - dead)
"The nation's top civil rights prosecutor [DOJ's Bill Lann Lee] Friday praised San
Jose police for volunteering to record the race of
drivers pulled over in traffic stops, but [Lee] urged local NAACP chapters to demand
accountability from not only the top cops, but also street officers.
"Bill Lann Lee, acting assistant attorney general for civil rights, speaking at the
NAACP western regional conference at the Fairmont Hotel, said local chapters should
``forge partnerships'' with Bay Area police departments so there are open lines of
communication on the issues of race and crime. ``The police are not the enemy, but
the bond of trust has been eroded,'' said Lee, the former western regional counsel for the
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. ``It's up to the NAACP and
other responsible [race-based] organizations to restore that trust and get the dialogue
going.'' Lee's lunchtime speech follows a nationwide effort by various [race-based]
organizations, including the NAACP and American Civil Liberties Union, to highlight the
use of racial profiling by law enforcement agencies in making traffic stops."
(San Jose Mercury News 04/17/99 by Marcus E. Walton)
California (San Jose):
Fire Chief "Gives" Test Results to Minorities Before Exam (07/28/95)
22 white fire captains in San Jose sued the city for using a racially biased promotion
system. The test failed 26 of 37 white firefighters, but passed 5 of 5 blacks.
The San Francisco Chronicle reports: "Twenty-three San Jose fire captains, all
but one of whom are white, are suing the city for allegedly cheating them out of
promotions and rigging an exam to make it easier for minorities.
"The suit ... says that black firefighters were leaked test questions on an exam
required for promotion to battalion chief. It also alleges that Fire Chief Raymond Brooks,
who is black, attempted to influence the makeup of a judges' panel so that it favored
"As a result, 70 percent of the 37 white firefighters who took the test flunked,
according to papers filed in Santa Clara County Superior Court. All five blacks who
took the test passed, and all but one of four Hispanics passed the test. ``Either this is
one of the most bizarre statistical freaks or someone's playing with the scores,'' said
Daniel Jensen, an attorney representing the 23 captains.
"The oral test was given to 47 candidates for battalion chief from May 23 to May
26. Of the 27 who failed the test, 26 were white and one was Hispanic. Three of
those who failed were acting battalion chiefs (who would ordinarily have been extremely
well-qualified for promotion).
According to the Chronicle, Fire Chief Raymond Brooks obtained a copy of the exam prior to
attending a conference of black firefighters where he proceeded to describe the test
questions to the black firefighters in attendance. The purpose of the conference was
to help black firefighters prepare for taking oral exams, and most of the black fire
captains from San Jose were in attendance. Chief Brooks was an instructor at the
conference. According to the lawsuit, a remarkably high percentage of black
firefighters in attendance at the conference subsequently passed the exam, while all 5 of
the white firefighters who took the exam failed. White firefighters had not been
invited to the black firefighter conference where the exam was discussed.
The lawsuit also accuses Chief Brooks of stacking the 9 member panel which oversees the
oral tests in favor of blacks: 4 of the panelists are black, 3 are white, and 2 are
Hispanic. However, 85 percent of the department's captains are white and 53 percent
of the battalion chiefs are white. (Based on the San Francisco Chronicle, July 28,
1995, page A24, by Jamie Beckett)
California (San Francisco):
Ranks Soaring at SF Fire Dept (07/26/00)
Black, Latino, Asian American appointed
Assistant Deputy Chiefs -- San Francisco's controversial black fire chief, Robert
Demmons, seems to revels in the systematic alienation of white fire fighters.
18 months ago the Boston Globe reported "The Demmons approach has alienated many
white firefighters, who complain the aggressive hiring and promoting of women and
minorities is nothing more than reverse discrimination. "He has whitey under
his thumb," a high-ranking white officer who declined to be named complained to a
Globe reporter." (Boston Globe, 02/08/99,
page A09, by David Armstrong)
Demmons is quite proud of the department's racial quotas. Today's San Francisco
Examiner reports: "In a historic move to diversify the higher ranks in San
Francisco's Fire Department, Chief Robert Demmons has appointed three minorities as
assistant deputy chiefs."
Background: A 1988 judicial decree directed the SF fire department to change
its work force to 40 percent minorities and 10 percent women, and "required
the department to set hiring targets of 55 percent minority and 10 percent women
through 1994, or over the next 500 firefighters. It took nine years for the
department to satisfy the [target] requirements."
In 1997 the department accomplished its quotas and the judicial oversight was lifted.
In order to avoid another court order, the San Francisco Fire Department now is very
limited in the number of white officers it can hire and promote -- and Chief Demmons likes
it that way just fine.
According to Lt. Ed Campbell, Fire Department spokesman, "San Francisco Fire
Department is very proud of its diversity," he said, noting that out of roughly 1,700
firefighters and paramedics, about 40 percent were minority, and 12 percent were
Using racialist double-speak, Lt. Campbell maintains that Chief Demmons doesn't only look
at women or minority candidates. "Clearly, the chief looks at everybody . . .
and he chooses from the diversity that's in the department," he said.
The lucky minority and/or female winners are:
Khai Ali, 42, now the highest-ranking black woman in the Fire Department.
Lorrie Kalos, 39, is a Latina who is now the first female to take charge a field division
in the city.
Johnny Lo, 47, is of Asian descent, and is now the first Asian to assume command of a
Opinion: Some day soon we're sure Chief Demmons will issue a press release
saying "Today we are proud to announce the first white male
commander in this department in many years." Now that's diversity!
(Based on the San Francisco Examiner article by
Matthew Yi 07/26/00 on page A1)
California (San Francisco):
attacking minorities, women sent to firefighters
One issue of the Smoke Eaters' Gazette states: "Some minority captains
"don't know the difference between cardiac and Cadillac," the same newsletter
reads. The "affirmative action welfare recipients think that they are in the
Department as a social experiment and not to put out fires." The newsletter
adds: "Most female firewatchers can't do the job and in many instances refuse
to enter a fire building and if they do, they run out on their comrades in order to
hydrate or get in touch with their feelings or whatever."
The newsletter "describes the 1988 consent decree, in which the U.S. District Court
ordered the department to hire and promote women and minorities, as responsible for
'completely destroying the capabilities of what was once one of the greatest fire
departments in the United States.'
"City officials are trying to determine who's behind [the] newsletter that refers to
female firefighters as 'firewatchers' and calls minorities 'affirmative action welfare
"The newsletter, titled 'Smoke Eaters' Gazette,' first appeared about a year ago, and
has been sent anonymously to members of the Fire Department, officials said. 'It's
fairly sophisticated in terms of knowledge of the Fire Department,' said Mayor Willie
Brown, adding the matter has been referred to police." (San Francisco Examiner
08/23/99, page A1)
California (San Francisco):
Black Fire Chief Proud of Alienating
White Officers (02/08/99 - dead)
"Fire Chief Robert Demmons says his department is a lot like a family business. And
like any family business, he makes sure the employees reflect the family. When
Demmons was named the department's top officer two years ago, he told his chief recruiter
to sign up 600 women to take the entry exam for the department. The recruiter scoffed; it
was a number that far exceed prior sign-ups. But Demmons insisted, and the recruiter made
"The Demmons approach has alienated many white firefighters, who complain the
aggressive hiring and promoting of women and minorities is nothing more than reverse
discrimination. ''He has whitey under his thumb,' a high-ranking white officer who
declined to be named complained to a Globe reporter." (Boston Globe, 02/08/99,
page A09, by David Armstrong)
California (San Francisco):
Police Inspector "Gives" Test Results to Minorities Before Exam
Police inspector Henry Kirk, who is
black, helped develop a police exam to "help achieve racial balance" in the
department. He has been charged with giving the answers to other officers before the
exam. (San Francisco Examiner 9/19/98) See Related Stories,
(Calif., SF) Related Story #1:
Pleads "Not Guilty" in Racist Exam Scam!
Henry Kirk is charged with violating a Federal Judge's order to keep this exam
"secret". Kirk has plead "not guilty" in the face of
overwhelming evidence that he DID leak the exam answers to minorities on the force!
Kirk "the minority leaker" could be fined $100,000 and a year in jail!
(San Francisco Examiner 9/29/98)
(Calif., SF) Related Story # 2:
Francisco Decides Police Dept. is Ready for Non-Racial Hiring!
The City of San Francisco has agreed it's time to stop requiring racial-quota hiring at
the Police Department. Citing "significant advances in racial hiring and
racial numbers", the City has recommended that quotas be discontinued at this police
department. 25 years of federally-imposed racial-quotas have resulted in a
"racially acceptable police department", therefore the Court Order can be
discontinued! (San Francisco Examiner 10/1/98)
(Calif., SF) Related Story #3:
Rids Itself of Court-Ordered Racial Quotas
U.S. District Judge Charles Legge has lifted court-imposed racial quota requirements from
the San Francisco Police Department. The Judge said "It is time to remove the
yoke of federal control". According to the Court, SFPD has met and/or exceeded
its racial quotas imposed by the Court in 1979. It remains to be seen if SFPD can
now proceed to hire and promote officers on the basis of qualifications instead of race or
gender. (San Francisco Examiner 10/3/98)
Denver Officer Starts Organization
for White Officers (02/11/01)
(Adversity.Net Special Report) Denver
police officer Ronnie Williams believes that white officers should receive the same civil
rights protections as minority officers. Ofcr. Williams has formed the Denver
Police Equal Rights Association.
The following Connecticut stories
have moved to a new page:
The Hartford Nine: Firefighters Win Reverse Discrimination Suit
Dumb Cop Rule, Dumbed Down Cops (9/11/01)
District of Columbia
Emails or Just Cops? (04/01/00)
(Adversity.Net special) Washington, DC
police have been charged with sending "racially insensitive e-mail" to
each other. Officers used the "N-word", they verbally attacked
"whitey", and they cast aspersions upon homosexuals. But who doesn't
know this kind of talk always goes on between cops?
End Police Fire (1)
Alabama - Delaware