Four retired Asian police captains are suing the New York Police Department for discrimination when deciding to promote its officers.
Lawyer John Scola, who represents the plaintiffs, aims to use a 2018 internal NYPD report that found that most of the police force’s top officials were not aware of why they were promoted — or passed over — in the first place.
According to Scola, none of the retirees want to sue the NYPD but are doing so in hopes that their case will put an end to the problem and instigate change in the department, according to the New York Daily News. The lawyer initially filed a suit against the NYPD on behalf of Ahmad Alli, 51, at the Brooklyn Supreme Court. Alli, who was reportedly never promoted after spending over a decade as a captain, alleges that about six out of 10 white captains get promoted beyond the captain rank compared to only about two in 10 Asians.
Scola noted that they have since added three more retired Asian captains as plaintiffs as they begin to pursue a class action certification for the suit.
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The NYPD, of which Asian personnel in various ranks comprise 14 percent of the force, requires cops to take exams to become sergeants, lieutenants and captains. However, the force does not require tests for subsequent promotions.
Such a system has earned the force criticism that the promotions have been based on cronyism, patronage and efforts to give itself a diversified image.
The report Scola plans to cite in the lawsuit was released by an NYPD lawyer and three deputy inspectors from the Police Management Institute, which has links to Columbia University’s executive education programs.
The findings noted that between 2015 to 2017, Asians spent on average 7.2 years as captains before being promoted to deputy inspector, a period longer than any other racial group.
The same promotion for Black men and women took an average of 3.3 and 2.9 years, respectively, while Hispanic men and women spent 3.8 and 5.4 years as captains before being promoted. Meanwhile, white men spent 6.9 years as captains on average, while white women held the same rank for 4.2 years.
The NYPD’s discretionary promotion system was criticized in the report for its lack of structure, guidelines and any type of “mentorship or professional development programs to lay the groundwork for executive professional advancement.”
The report also highlighted that promotions beyond the rank of captain lack “feedback, both to those executives who are successfully promoted and for those who are not.”