Castro v. Beecher, Civ. A. No. 70-1220-W.

Decision Date06 December 1971
Docket NumberCiv. A. No. 70-1220-W.
Citation334 F. Supp. 930
PartiesPedro CASTRO et al. v. Nancy BEECHER et al.
CourtU.S. District Court — District of Massachusetts



Thomas A. Mela, Boston, Mass., Massachusetts Law Reform Institute, Patrick J. King, Boston, Mass., Boston Legal Assistance Project, and Jeffry A. Mintz, New York City, for plaintiffs.

Walter H. Mayo, III, and John F. McGarry, Asst. Attys. Gen., for defendants Civil Service Comm. and Director of Civil Service Comm.

Robert Glass, Cambridge, Mass., for defendant Edmund McNamara, Commissioner of Police of the City of Boston.

Joel Selig, and Herman G. Thompson, U. S. Dept. of Justice, for the United States, amicus curiae.

John F. Dargin, Jr., Boston, Mass., for the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States, Inc., Dept. of Massachusetts, amicus curiae.

John F. Dargin, Jr., Robert Hagopian, Cambridge, Mass., and John P. Swift, Boston, Mass., for Disabled American Veterans, amicus curiae.

Henry Wise, and Robert L. Wise, Boston, Mass., for the Boston Police Patrolmen's Assn., Inc., amicus curiae.

Roy A. Hammer, and Matthew H. Feinberg, Boston, Mass., for Civil Liberties Union of Mass., amicus curiae.


WYZANSKI, Senior District Judge.

This action involves principally1 alleged violations of the April 20, 1871 Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and presents claims that state and city officials in recruiting and hiring policemen discriminated against certain minorities.

Six blacks and two Puerto Ricans unsuccessfully sought appointment as Boston policeman. On behalf of themselves and other blacks and a group which, in accordance with terminology of the Bureau of the Census, they denominate2 "Spanish-surnamed persons" they filed in this court a complaint against the Director of The Massachusetts Civil Service Commission, the members of that Commission, and the Commissioner of Police of Boston. Plaintiffs alleged that defendants in the recruitment and appointment of policemen are engaged in a policy3 and practice of invidiously discriminating against blacks and Spanish-surnamed persons who have applied, or might have applied, or might hereafter apply to be policemen in Boston and in other Massachusetts cities and towns, and in certain state agencies, the Metropolitan District Commission, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, and the Bureau of State Buildings, commonly called the Capitol Police.

The claim is that among the practices by which defendants have excluded, limited, and discouraged the employment of black and Spanish-surnamed persons are (a) furnishing on a discriminatory basis information about police employment opportunities, (b) establishing educational requirements not bearing upon any legitimate job qualifications, (c) requiring police applicants to submit to a written examination which has not been validated as predictive of successful job performance in the position of policeman, and (d) requiring police applicants to submit to other miscellaneous job requirements, such as a height test and a swim test.

Both injunctive relief and declaratory judgments are sought on behalf of the eight named plaintiffs and a class composed of all black and Spanish-surnamed persons who have sought, or might have sought, or may hereafter seek employment as policemen in positions covered by Massachusetts civil service laws.

This court's jurisdiction is founded on 28 U.S.C. §§ 1343(3) and (4), 2201 and 2202. Carter v. Gallagher, 8th Cir., 1971, 452 F.2d 315; Dkt No. 71-1181 (Sept. 9, 1971). This court also has pendent jurisdiction of the claim that the Director of Civil Service violated Mass. G.L. c. 31 § 10. United Mine Workers v. Gibbs, 383 U.S. 715, 86 S.Ct. 1130, 16 L.Ed.2d 218 (1966).

The complaint does not claim and there is no evidence that defendants ever expressed a discriminatory purpose or used any practice which on its face was invidiously discriminatory.4

What is factually in issue is whether defendants' standards and procedures for the recruitment and hiring of policemen are significantly related to a policeman's successful job performance, and, if not, whether, as the complaint alleges, they operate as parts of a policy, that is as elements in a course of conduct, which objectively has the consequence of disqualifying black and Spanish-surnamed actual and potential police applicants at a substantially higher rate than the generality of white applicants.

Before considering the practices specifically recited in the complaint, we are asked by plaintiffs to take into account statistics with respect to the percentage of blacks and Puerto Ricans in the police force of Boston and elsewhere in Massachusetts compared with the percentage of the same minorities in the general population. Plaintiffs' contention is that cases such as Carter v. Gallagher, supra, Parham v. Southwestern Bell Telephone Co., 433 F.2d 421, 426 (8th Cir., 1970), United States v. Ironworkers Local 86, 443 F.2d 544, 551 (9th Cir., 1971), Arrington v. Mass. Bay Transportation Authority, 306 F.Supp. 1355, 1358 (D. Mass., 1969), and Penn v. Stumpf, 308 F.Supp. 1238, 1242-1243 (N.D.Cal., 1970), indicate that a prima facie case of racial discrimination is established and that a shift in the burden of persuasion, although not in the burden of proof, from plaintiffs to defendants is effectuated when it is shown that a particular employer has a large work force performing a particular type of work in an area in which there are a large number of persons belonging to a particular ethnic or other minority group and that the percentage of that group employed by that employer at that work is substantially lower than the percentage of that group in the population of that area.

In the case at bar there is enough evidence with respect to black persons in the Boston population and in the Boston police force for us to address ourselves to the soundness of plaintiffs' legal proposition as to a prima facie case with respect to the Boston police situation and a shift in the burden of proof with respect to the alleged discrimination against black applicants to be Boston policemen. At this point we momentarily leave aside Spanish-surnamed persons and situations outside of Boston, since the immediate question is whether plaintiffs' proposition applies to any part of the case at bar.

At all times in the 1960-1970 decade Boston's total population was over 700,000, its black population over 60,000, and its police force over 2,000. Thus we are dealing with large enough figures to permit meaningful comparisons.

In the Boston population the blacks were about 9% in 1960 and about 16.3% in 1970; but in the Boston police force the blacks were only about 2% in 1960 and about 3.6% in 1970.

Such a substantial discrepancy obviously invites inquiry, even though some of it is plainly not attributable to the defendants.

Much is due to the discriminatory practices of American society. Cooper and Sobol, Seniority and Testing Under Fair Employment Laws, 82 Harv.L.Rev. 1598 (1969). See Arrington v. Mass. Bay Transportation Auth., 306 F.Supp. 1355, 1358 (D.Mass., 1969). Our civilization as a whole has by laws, customs, institutions and personal prejudices discriminated in the opportunities for education and training it has made available to blacks. As a result, blacks as a group are less qualified than whites as a group for any employment except the most menial. This disparity increases with the complexity and technical requirements of the job. Since some aspects of the policeman's job demand special skills reflecting advanced education and training, even under a completely neutral policy of selection, blacks will be, on the average, less likely than whites to be found qualified and to be appointed.

Much of the discrepancy seems due to a differential between blacks and whites in their desires to become policemen. The testimony in this case, official reports,5 and the reluctance of blacks to respond to defendant Police Commissioner McNamara's recruitment campaign,6 indicate that blacks are disinclined to become policemen because of hostility to the calling and because, if qualified to be policemen, blacks have more rewarding and otherwise attractive offers for other positions.

But it would be naive to find that the technical skills required of policemen, the discriminatory practices of American society in training and educating blacks, and the reluctance of blacks to become policemen are the sole reasons why when blacks are one-sixth of the Boston population they are only one-thirtieth of the Boston police force. To be sure, equally dramatic differentials exist with respect to the percentage of blacks who are judges, lawyers, doctors, university professors, engineers, architects, and practitioners of other learned callings. But the policeman's calling, demanding as it is of qualities developed by training and education, is hardly to be described as a learned or professional calling for which very few blacks could qualify even on the basis of an unbiased selection. Indeed it appears from the recent experience of many American cities such as Baltimore, Chicago, and Detroit, that when there are no irrelevant barriers and the public authorities welcome blacks the percentage of police appointees who are black bears a close relation to the percentage of the population who are black.

However, statistics comparing blacks in the population and in the police force do not show even prima facie whether if there is discrimination it is attributable to the Massachusetts Civil Service Commission, or to the Boston Police Department, or to both. Moreover, those statistics are of no value in deciding which, if any, of the specific practices referred to in the complaint are discriminatory and should be enjoined. We, therefore, turn to a detailed...

To continue reading

Request your trial
39 cases
  • Green v. Cauthen
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — District of South Carolina
    • May 20, 1974
    ...see Allen v. City of Mobile, 331 F.Supp. 1134 (S.D. Ala.1971); NAACP v. Allen, 340 F. Supp. 703 (M.D.Ala.1972), and Castro v. Beecher, 334 F.Supp. 930 (D.Mass. 1971). 8. The police department is not a proper party to this The Columbia City Police Department is not a proper party to this act......
  • Washington v. Davis
    • United States
    • U.S. Supreme Court
    • June 7, 1976
    ...(E.D.La.1970) (issuing preliminary injunction), 321 F.Supp. 1241, 1244 (1971) (issuing permanent injunction). See also Castro v. Beecher, 334 F.Supp. 930 (D.Mass.1971), aff'd in part and rev'd in part on other grounds, 459 F.2d 725 (CA1 1972); Western Addition Community Org. v. Alioto, 330 ......
  • Lige v. Town of Montclair
    • United States
    • New Jersey Supreme Court
    • November 30, 1976
    ...(S.D.N.Y.1971), and different groups within the population may have different levels of desire for the particular job, Castro v. Beecher, 334 F.Supp. 930 (D.Mass.1971). And most importantly, acceptance of the idea that discrepancies between racial composition of the community and the plant ......
  • Harper v. Mayor and City Council of Baltimore
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — District of Maryland
    • May 2, 1973
    ...tests sorted out the best applicants for appointment. Chance v. Board of Examiners, supra; Carter v. Gallagher, supra; Castro v. Beecher, 334 F.Supp. 930 (D.Mass.1971), modified 459 F.2d 725 (1st Cir. 1972). This burden of validation rests with the Before addressing the question of whether ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT