A white police officer’s suit against the city of Ithaca has been dismissed. The officer alleged racial discrimination after he lost a promotion to a black officer.
Sgt. Douglas Wright was one of three sergeants vying for a lieutenant position in 2009.
The committee charged with filling the position chose Sgt. Marlon Byrd, who is black, based on his more extensive supervisory experience and his better track record of community policing.
This was the second time Wright had lost out to a black officer. He had challenged a similar hiring decision in 2007. He sued then, too, but that case was also dismissed.
The court noted that the city had sound, nondiscriminatory reasons for promoting Byrd. Wright could not demonstrate that those reasons were pretext for racial discrimination. As a result, his case was dismissed.
Note: Establish hiring or promotional criteria before interviewing candidates. The more transparent the process, the easier it is to defend.
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