A high-ranking St. Louis police officer has reached a settlement in a lawsuit against the city.
He sued over alleged racial discrimination within the police department. The news comes as two other discrimination lawsuits are pending. In the three separate cases, St. Louis police officers claim they were treated unfairly because of their gender or the color of their skin.
“The fact of the matter is when discrimination occurs, or things that look like discrimination occur, the policies aren’t followed,” said attorney J.C. Pleban.
Pleban represents Major Rochelle Jones. Jones said she wasn’t promoted to lieutenant colonel because she is a woman. Her lawsuit claims she has more experience with the department, more education and a better score on a competency test than the man who got the job.
“She’s a person who’s done the right thing throughout her history, throughout her career,” Pleban said. “She’s done what she’s been asked to do and she’s done it well. And when she does that and doesn’t get the promotion, that stings. There’s no doubt about that.”
So, she’s suing the city over the same job promotion that earned Major Michael Caruso a settlement. He also claimed he was passed over for that same job because he’s white. His attorneys couldn’t release details of the settlement, but did confirm “it’s been resolved.”
The third case involves three African American sergeants. They’re also claiming racial discrimination. They said the department has disproportionately promoted Caucasian sergeants to lieutenants for the past three years.
In August, the police department released a statement regarding the Caruso case saying in part, “… the department has been criticized both for not promoting enough African American candidates, as well as for not promoting Caucasian candidates.”
The city only commented on the Caruso lawsuit by saying it is resolved. It will not comment on the Jones case since the lawsuit is pending. It said it has not been served yet with the lawsuit involving the other three officers.