Police Officers for Equal Rights v. CITY OF COL., C-2-78-394.

CourtUnited States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. Southern District of Ohio
Citation644 F. Supp. 393
Docket NumberNo. C-2-78-394.,C-2-78-394.
PartiesPOLICE OFFICERS FOR EQUAL RIGHTS, et al., Plaintiffs, v. CITY OF COLUMBUS, et al., Defendants.
Decision Date08 January 1985



Alexander M. Spater, Columbus, Ohio, for plaintiffs.

Donald Keller, Asst. City Atty., Columbus, Ohio, for defendants.


DUNCAN, District Judge.

I. Introduction

For a number of years this Court has participated in litigation concerning the City of Columbus Division of Police. In Marbaugh v. Sensenbrenner, Case No. C-2-71-391 (S.D.Ohio 1975), Haynie v. Chupka, Case No. C-2-73-401 (S.D.Ohio 1975), Brant v. City of Columbus, Case No. C-2-75-425 (S.D.Ohio 1977), and now in the present lawsuit, I am again required to confront extremely difficult issues important to the Division and our community.

After having spent hundreds of hours hearing and evaluating testimony in these cases, I believe I have some means of knowing the many strengths and some of the deficiencies of the Division. In most areas the Division has provided excellent service to this community. This long history of excellence has resulted from the combined efforts of women and men who performed this often dangerous and difficult work for less than desirable compensation. Nothing in this opinion should be read to denigrate the positive contribution of such individuals.

However, this case concerns a number of problem areas in the Division having to do with race. It is also noted that consideration of certain historical facts concerning race relations in the Division is mandated and appears hereinafter. The Court is well aware that times have changed, highly significant new procedures are in place in the Division, and that any unnecessary recitation of the unfortunate past may be perceived as unfair. It is not my purpose to deprecate new efforts to achieve racial fairness by blaming today's officials for past acts of yesterday's officials. Nevertheless, history is important for the limited purpose explained in this opinion.

The trial of this case was long. Therefore, this opinion is long even though the Court has not found it necessary to comment on each and every factual and legal dispute generated by the advocates. Included in the discussion which follows is an analysis of extensive statistical evidence. Although the Court has empathy for persons who may read this opinion who are not trained in or familiar with modern statistics, there is no avoiding an appraisal of the parties' statistical evidence. In addition, the Court must refer to administrative agency guidelines and Title VI and Title VII case law, and in doing so speak in a language which to many, may be quite arcane.

With the above considerations in mind, the reasons for the Court's decision are set forth hereinafter.

II. Procedural History of the Case

Plaintiffs allege discriminatory treatment on the basis of race in their employment with the Columbus Division of Police. This Court has jurisdiction of the issues raised herein pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1343 and 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5. The parties at the trial in this case are as follows and will be identified as such in this opinion:

Plaintiffs. This matter has been certified as a class action pursuant to Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The class consists of those black officers, past and present, employed by the Columbus Division of Police during the pendency of this action. Plaintiff Police Officers for Equal Rights, Inc. (POER) is an Ohio not-for-profit corporation whose members include certain past and present black officers of the Columbus Division of Police. One of the organization's avowed goals is to promote equal opportunity for all officers in the Division of Police.

Individually named plaintiffs include black male and female officers who allege to personally have been, and to represent other black officers who have been, the victims of discrimination. These individually named officers include Andrea Barrett, Ronald Bosley, David Crawford, George Garrett, Charles Martin, Jodie Reeder, David Vines, Judy Stubblefield, Ollie Stubblefield, and Clyde Haynie. Many of the named plaintiffs have filed charges with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). See, e.g., Pl. Ex. 427, 429-436. Many of these plaintiffs have received notices of a right to sue from the EEOC. See e.g., Pl. Ex. 511, 513-519.

Defendants. The defendants in this lawsuit are the City of Columbus, former Mayor Tom Moody, succeeded by Dana Rinehart on January 1, 1984; former Police Chief Earl Burden, succeeded by Dwight Joseph, Jr. in April 1983; Public Safety Director Bernard Chupka, succeeded by Alphonso Montgomery in 1984; members of the Civil Service Commission, Thelma Schoonover, John Young and Walter Tarpley who succeeded Earl Sherard, and the Commission's executive secretary, Earl Murry.

The City of Columbus is an employer subject to the terms of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq. More specifically, Title VII was extended to public employers, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-17, effective March 1972.

The defendant City of Columbus has been sued in this Court on two other occasions for certain violations of Equal Employment Opportunity laws. In 1975, this Court ordered the City to strive to meet minority hiring goals to rectify Division hiring practices which were found to be racially discriminatory. Haynie v. Chupka, Case No. C-2-73-401 (S.D.Ohio 1975). In 1977, this Court concluded that the Division of Police had engaged in illegal gender-based discrimination in hiring. Brant v. City of Columbus, Case No. C-2-75-425 (S.D.Ohio 1977).

The instant suit was filed on April 26, 1976, by Officer Jodie Reeder and others. Thereafter, POER and additional black police officers were added as parties plaintiff. On November 29, 1979, this action was certified as a class action. This action was originally brought pursuant to Title VI and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq.; Title 42 U.S.C. §§ 1981 and 1983 and the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution.

On February 28, 1984, following notice to class members and an opportunity for those class members to be heard, plaintiffs' motion to dismiss claims brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 1981 and 1983 and the Constitution was granted. At that time plaintiffs' motion to file a third amended complaint was also granted.

This matter proceeded to trial on March 12, 1984, on the issue of liability only. The trial concluded on April 20, 1984. The record is extensive. Over 100 witnesses were heard and over 600 exhibits were admitted into evidence. The trial transcript is lengthy to say the least.

Following the trial but prior to closing arguments of counsel, plaintiffs sought a preliminary injunction restraining the promotion of seven sergeants. That motion was denied on June 14, 1984. Closing arguments were heard on July 6, 1984. This Court is now prepared to rule on this matter. Pursuant to its obligations under Rule 52(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the Court makes the following findings of fact and conclusions of law.

III. History of Discrimination in the Columbus Division of Police
A. Organization of the Division

A brief explanation or description of the organizational structure of the Division may prove to be helpful in understanding the discussion that follows.

Section 97 of the City Charter (Jt.Ex. 1) establishes the Department of Public Safety composed of the Divisions of Police and Fire. Prior to January 1, 1981, the Division of Police maintained a set of procedural rules known as General Orders and a set of policies known as Rules of Conduct. (Jt.Ex. 3 and 5.) On January 1, 1981, the Division replaced these with a formal directives system (Jt.Ex. 7). Each officer receives copies of these directives as well as Daily Bulletins printed by the Division. These various documents will be referred to from time to time.

Additional sections of the City Charter describe in detail the organizational structure of the Police Department and the powers and duties of those individuals responsible for supervision of the Division, including the Mayor, the Safety Director, and the Chief of Police. Based upon the evidence adduced at trial (Jt.Ex. 1, 3, 5 and 7), flow charts, which graphically depict the organizational structure of the Division, have been appended to this opinion.

That structure from time to time has changed, the most recent change was the implementation of a "midwatch," a shift which reports during the peak crime hours of 6:30 p.m. to 3:30 a.m. In addition, the terms used to describe the organizational structure, or parts thereof, have changed from time to time. In an effort to be consistent, the Court has undertaken to use throughout this opinion the following set of descriptive terms and designations.

The Division of Police is divided into approximately five subdivisions: Administrative, Investigative, Service, Special Operations, and Field Operations. Those subdivisions report to the Executive Branch of the Division of Police which operates under the command of the Chief of Police and his staff and includes three specialized bureaus: Internal Affairs Bureau, the Legal Bureau, and the Inspector's Bureau. Each of the five subdivisions, reporting to the Executive Branch, are further divided into Bureaus. For example, the Investigative Subdivision is divided into the Detective Bureau, the Juvenile Bureau, the Narcotics Bureau, etc. Similarly, the Administrative Subdivision, for example, is divided into the Community Relations Bureau, the Training Bureau, etc.

The Field Operations Subdivision is further divided into Companies, specifically A, B and C Company, each of which represents a shift to which uniformed personnel are assigned. In some cases, Bureaus are further divided into squads or units, denoting the smallest...

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