Connecticut:   News Articles about Reverse Discrimination against Police, Fire, and Municipal Employees.

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Police, Fire, Municipal Employment
Last Updated December 11, 2006

See Newest Post:  White New Haven Firefighters Scored Too High on Exam! (12/11/06)

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(Connecticut, Bridgeport):
New Fire Dept. Test Favors Non-White Firefighters (10/15/02)

Excerpted from the story by Aaron Leo for the Connecticut Post Online 10/15/02

Original Connecticut Post Title: "More job applicants take firefighter test"

          "[Bridgeport] Fire Chief Michael Maglione said the recruiting drive was successful, with the help of a team aimed at attracting minorities and women to become firefighters.

          "About 49 percent of applicants were white, 27 percent black, 21 percent Hispanic and 1 percent each Asian, Native American and undeclared, Colligan said. About 92 percent of applicants were men.

          "That's a "slight" increase in minorities and women over the previous exam, he said, although he did not have statistics from the last test.

          "An independent examiner in Washington, D.C., is grading the exams, and Colligan said he hopes to receive the scores within three weeks."  [Editor's Note:  The phrase "independent examiner in Washington DC" is code-speak for a government-approved firm which specializes in manipulating fire and police exam results in order to grant passing grades to the largest number of non-whites.]

          "Candidates then have 30 days to review the pass-fail exam, which is graded by computer.  The agility test follows, which is also pass-fail, and then an oral exam, the personnel director said.  He said he hopes to schedule the agility test for November.

          "Roger Kergaravat, president of Bridgeport Firefighters Local 834, was satisfied with the results.  He said:   "I would have expected a lot higher number of applicants."

Excerpted from the story by Aaron Leo for the Connecticut Post Online 10/15/02
Connecticut Post Original Title: "More job applicants take firefighter test"

[Last known link to original story,1413,96%257E3750%257E926146,00.html ]

(Connecticut, Hartford):
Nine Firefighters Awarded $3.2 Million in Reverse-Discrimination Case (Apr. 12, 2002)

Excerpted from the Hartford Courant story by Matt Burgard and Mark Pazniokas 4-12-02, and from the Hartford Advocate story by By Colleen Van Tassell and Edward Ericson, Jr. 4-11-02

          "A federal jury returned a $3.2 million verdict Thursday against the city of Hartford in a reverse-discrimination case ..."   The lead attorney for the firefighters, Norman A. Pattis, said "These guys wanted to make a point; they didn't want to hurt the city. The city didn't listen, so a jury did."

          "After a day and a half of deliberations, a jury in U.S. District Court in New Haven concluded that all nine white and Hispanic firefighters would have been promoted if they had not been "unlawfully discriminated against."

          "In his closing arguments Wednesday [4/10/02, the firefighter's attorney, Norman Pattis] "urged jurors to consider the message of black leaders such as the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. when determining the merits of the firefighters' claims.  I told [the jurors] to think about King's dream, the dream of judging people by the content of their character instead of the color of their skin. We're really grateful that they listened, that they realized discrimination is wrong no matter who's practicing it."

          "Known in fire department circles as "The Hartford 9," the firefighters filed suit five years ago against the two black officials in charge of the department during a round of promotions, Chief Robert Dobson and Assistant Chief Billy Smith.

          "Dobson and Smith, who have since retired, were accused of creating an atmosphere hostile to non-black firefighters. The group contended that [black firefighter chief] Dobson allowed a promotions list to expire because the names at the top were those of white and Hispanic candidates. Six were seeking promotions to lieutenant and three as drivers.

          "Four months later, [black firefighter chief] Dobson instituted a new list of names with black candidates at the top, clearing the way for blacks to be promoted over whites and Hispanics, the suit contended.

          "The suit also accused [black Assistant Chief Billy Smith] of repeatedly using racially insulting language aimed at white and Hispanic firefighters under his command. On a taped conversation between Smith and a fellow black firefighter, Smith was heard saying, "Those [expletive] can't beat no blacks for boss jobs. They feel bad when they're ruled by black folk."  (Link 1)

According to the Hartford Advocate in a story on 4/11/02, the racist and offensive language used by Smith was very raw indeed: "In August 1996 a tape and transcription of two conversations between Smith and Vincent Graves, a black firefighter, were distributed to the media. On it, Smith was reported as saying "faggots," "white boys" and "niggers." In discussing the promotion of blacks over whites, Smith said the wives of the white firefighters would be angry. "No white boys got no pussy last night," he said, according to the transcript, which has been entered into the court record. "Let those niggers take those jobs," Smith said, imitating a woman's voice. "They close them legs up. They ain't getting no pussy. ... Those motherfuckers can't beat no blacks for boss jobs. They feel bad when they're ruled by black folk."   (Link 2)

          "[The firefighter's attorney, Norman Pattis] and other observers said it was Smith's testimony during the trial that may have caused the most damage to the city's case. On the stand, Smith repeatedly insisted that he could not recall making statements that were clearly captured on tape, forcing Judge Janet Bond Arterton to read him the federal perjury statute.  (Link 1)

The Hartford Advocate was more explicit in describing Smith's behavior on the witness stand:  "What is a Clarence Thomas nigger? Billy Smith knows. He just can't remember. It's too painful. "I can't recall," Smith said. "I'm trying to forget it."

          "Suffering from "stress-related" memory loss, the fired assistant fire chief [Smith] of the Hartford Fire Department seemed to remember enough to want to forget. "Is it too painful to recall references made about crackers?" Smith was asked. "Too painful to recall [remarks about] putting Jewish firefighters in ovens? Too painful to recall calling someone a faggot?" "I don't recall." Smith said, smirking."   (Link 2)

          "In city hall, sources said that council members had been asked by some black firefighters not to settle the case. The notion that whites were victims of discrimination is hard for some black firefighters to accept, the sources said.

          "Steven M. Harris, a black former city councilman and retired firefighter, said he is uncomfortable with the claims [of reverse discrimination] made in the lawsuit, considering the long history of white discrimination against blacks. [The black former councilman Harris is quoted as saying] "... I don't think you can say that in today's society whites are the ones most harmed by discrimination."

          "The jurors found that [former black firefighter Chief] Dobson and the city wrongfully passed over the nine firefighters for promotion based on their race. The firefighters, most of whom have since retired without getting the promotions they sought, are: Charles Peterson, Kent Cavanaugh, Steve Crocker, Patrick Dubel, Michael Espinosa, Michael Lombardi, William Tejada, Larry Pac and Eric Sullivan."

          "Among them, Dubel received the largest individual jury award - $482,000 - while Cavanaugh won the smallest award - $287,000.

          "But the city probably will ask the judge to set aside the verdict or reduce the awards. If those motions fail, the city could appeal. Even [attorney] Pattis acknowledged that his clients probably will settle for a lesser amount.  [He] said that he still is willing to settle, only now the price obviously will be higher. Instead of trying to convince the city of damages, the firefighters are defending a $3.2 million judgment.  (Link 1)

Last Known Links:
Link 1 -- Hartford Courant 4-12-01:

Link 2 -- Hartford Advocate 4-11-02:

(Connecticut, Hartford):
Suit Accuses Black Hartford Fire Chief Of Reverse Bias (05/08/99 - dead)

          "Eight white and two Latino firefighters have charged in a federal civil rights complaint that Hartford's black fire chief allowed promotional lists to expire because they contained the names of too few black firefighters.

          "The lawsuit, assigned this week to U.S. District Judge Alvin W. Thompson in Hartford, is the third [reverse] discrimination action filed against Fire Chief Robert E. Dobson in the last six months.

          "A dozen firefighters are involved in the three cases. A 13th firefighter has filed a discrimination complaint against Dobson with the state Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities.

          This latest lawsuit was caused by a decision by Chief Dobson in 1997 to deliberately NOT seek an additional extension for two promotional lists - for lieutenant and pump operator - saying at the time that he didn't foresee a need to fill any more of those positions. 

          "But within three months, Dobson asked Personnel Director Patricia Washington to prepare another lieutenant's test, citing an urgent need to fill several vacant jobs. In a letter to Dobson, Washington questioned why the chief simply hadn't extended the promotional list. Each new test costs about $15,000.  In the lawsuit, the firefighters argue Dobson 'permitted the list to expire' because 'he knew that almost all of the eligible candidates were white.' " (The Hartford Courant Mon. 05/08/99 by Josh Kovner)
[former link *]

(Connecticut, New Haven):
Blacks Must be Promoted Over Top Scoring Whites (12/11/06)

Adversity.Net Case 50:   In December 2003 the city of New Haven administered race-neutral promotional exams for Captain and Lieutenant positions in the fire department.  The city had paid $100,000 to a "high stakes" testing firm to design a completely race-neutral exam which was "guaranteed" to promote more blacks and other minorities.   Unfortunately, way too many whites were the high scorers on the exam AND New Haven threw out the test results rather than promote too many white firefighters!  The firefighters have filed a reverse discrimination lawsuit.

See:  Adversity.Net Case 50 - New Haven Firefighters (web posted 12/11/06)

(Connecticut, New London):
'Dumb cop' rule really smarts (09/11/00)

          A federal court has determined that in New London, Connecticut, the police were justified in denying employment to an applicant who was too smart to be a policeman.

          Yep, he was too smart for the New London police force.

          The Atlanta Mobile Register writes "Police throughout the country should be enraged, because the policy at issue in this case feeds the unfortunate stereotype of the "dumb cop." For that matter, the citizens of New London, Conn., should be enraged, too, because it is their police department that is ensuring that the officers who serve the public are of only average intelligence. The policy is inane.

          "The case began when Robert Jordan, a 49-year-old college graduate, applied for the New London police force. When he took the entrance exam, he scored 33 points - which indicates an IQ of about 125. But the department only considers candidates who score between 20 and 27, with 20 representing an IQ of about 100, which is supposed to be average.

          "The department's theory is that those who score too high could get bored with police work and leave soon after receiving costly training.

          "Mr. Jordan sued, saying that he was the victim of illegal discrimination. Two federal courts have now refused to uphold his claim, though, saying that because the same standards were applied to all applicants, no illegal discrimination occurred. The courts also ruled that even though the policy might be unwise - we would say flat-out stupid - it was at least arguably a rational way to reduce expensive job turnover."  (Atlanta Mobile Register 09/11/00)
[link ]


(Connecticut, New London):
Too Smart to be a Cop! (09/08/00)

          The Associated Press reported the following case from New London, Connecticut:  "A man whose bid to become a police officer was rejected after he scored too high on an intelligence test has lost an appeal in his federal lawsuit against the city.

          "The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York upheld a lower court’s decision that the city did not discriminate against Robert Jordan because the same standards were applied to everyone who took the test."

          In 1996, Jordan scored 33 points on the police exam which is the equivalent of an IQ of 125 (well above average, but 15 points short of the traditional "genius" cutoff of 140).

          "But New London police interviewed only candidates who scored 20 to 27, on the theory that those who scored too high could get bored with police work and leave soon after undergoing costly training."

          Associated Press reports that the national average for police officers is an IQ of 104, or slightly above average.

          The U.S. District Court ruled the New London police had a reasonable explanation for their policy of rejecting applicants who were too intelligent -- they might get easily bored and leave the job after receiving costly training.  On August 23, 2000 the Second Circuit Court agreed.

          Robert Jordan has been working as a prison guard since his rejection by New London police.  Apparently prison authorities don't care of Jordan is too intelligent for the guard job; or maybe prison guards have to be smarter than police recruits.  (Associated Press as published by ABC News 09/08/00)
[link ]

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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.