Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Blacks for resegregation...amazing. Do you think the DOJ will get involved?

Suit claims East St. Louis passed up white police chief over race
Wednesday, Oct. 28 2009
EAST ST. LOUIS — City officials seeking a new police chief passed up the former director of the Florida Highway Patrol, who formerly was a top commander of the Illinois State Police, because he is white, two former members of a city board claim.Wyatt Frazer and Della Murphy allege in a federal lawsuit that they were forced off the Police, Fire and Civil Service Board for their advocacy of a white candidate when the chief's job was open in 2007.Their lawyer said Tuesday the spurned candidate was Ronald Grimming, a Metro East resident who rose to be deputy superintendent of the State Police before taking the top spot in Florida in 1993. Grimming could not be reached for comment.The suit against Mayor Alvin Parks, City Manager Robert Betts and the city itself does not identify Grimming by name or qualifications.But the plaintiffs' lawyer, Thomas E. Kennedy III, said it was Grimming, and that Parks told his clients "the city wasn't ready to hire a white police chief."East St. Louis has a 97.7 percent black population, according to U.S. census records. Neither Parks nor Betts responded to messages left on Tuesday seeking a comment. The candidate chosen at the time was Michael Baxton Sr., an African-American who had been a police detective in adjoining Centreville and police chief in Brooklyn, a village of fewer than 700 residents.The suit, filed Oct. 1 in U.S. District Court in East St. Louis, claims, "Shortly after Parks became Mayor in May 2007, Frazer became aware of Parks' bias against hiring white persons." It continues, "When the city was searching for a new Chief of Police, on or about August 2007, Frazer and Murphy felt that the most qualified candidate was a white male with extensive law enforcement experience and no criminal history. However, Parks told Frazer at that time that he would not recommend the Board's candidate for the position because he was white. At Parks' recommendation, the City then hired Michael Baxton, Sr., an African-American male, as Chief of Police, even though he was less qualified than the Board's candidate ... ."The suit seeks relief for alleged retaliation against the plaintiffs' free speech rights but does not ask for specific monetary damages. Grimming is not a party to the suit.The lawsuit also alleges that Parks and Betts repeatedly questioned Frazer and Murphy after they hired two white applicants for probationary police officer positions. Frazer and Murphy were fired in October 2007, the lawsuit states."[The] defendants thereafter fired all of the candidates hired by [Frazer and Murphy] and hired several new officers and employees based on their racial and political beliefs," the suit alleges.Baxton resigned as chief earlier this year after facing scrutiny over his handling of the department's unsolved murder cases and hiring practices. In 2008, the Post-Dispatch reported that of 10 police officers hired in June 2008, two had criminal histories — and that one of the two took the oath of office while sought on an outstanding arrest warrant for domestic battery.Baxton was replaced as chief with Lenzie Stewart, a veteran member of the department who also is black.

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