Thirteen San Francisco police officers have filed a lawsuit against the city, alleging they were passed up for promotions for being white and male.
According to the lawsuit, the city uses an “obscure and biased promotional process” that makes it possible for officers who score lower on examinations to be promoted over higher-scoring candidates.”
The suit adds that city uses the process to promote a higher percentage of minority and female candidates than would be promoted in a system based on scores.
“This is not about ‘officers against officers,’ but about an administration trickling its discriminatory practices and tactics, and forcing it on the people below them,” plaintiff Lt. Rick Schiff said.
Schiff said that he is one of the most experienced and decorated members of the police department.
“I’m a 34-year-old veteran. I have a son and daughter in this police department. I have one goal in mind out of this: It would be great to get the promotion that I deserve, but I think my number one desire would be to see every officer in the department treated equitably,” he said.
John Cote, a spokesman for City Attorney Dennis Herrera, said that the police department uses a merit-based, competitive civil service examinations in deciding promotions.
“This system is enshrined in the city’s charter and civil service rules. It’s designed to provide qualified individuals with the chance for advancement while ensuring fair treatment without regard to race, gender, religion, age or other status. We will review this lawsuit and address it in court,” he said.
However, San Francisco Police Officer’s Association President Tony Montoya confirmed that the police department does have a history of promotion controversies.
“During a general membership meeting, the chief made comments to the audience that he was using race and gender as a factor in making promotions, which is illegal to use race and gender for hiring purposes,” he said.