A federal judge has determined that the race and sex-based hiring quotas imposed on the Cincinnati Police Departmentare no longer constitutional and has determined to lift the policy.
According to an AP article, the quotas were created 40 years ago as part of a 1981 consent decree in order to diversify the police department and remedy historical discrimination.
Now, U.S. District Judge Susan Dlott argued that there is no legal justification for the hiring practice, and determined that such a policy is no longer constitutional.
“Here, by merely stating that evidence of past discrimination by CPD over 40 years ago justifies the use of remedial race-based classifications, the City fails to provide any evidence that at this time the race-based hiring and promotional goals continue to remedy past discrimination or any lingering effects therefrom,” Dlott said in the ruling.
Today, more than 28% of the department’s officers are black and 23% are women. Dlott said that while the use of affirmative action-based quotas can and has improved diversity, they cannot be used to “maintain” such diversity.
Last year, the Justice Department requested that Dlott remove the hiring requirements following a lawsuit in which a white Cincinnati police sergeant said he was discriminated against due to affirmative action policies. The plaintiff said the department selected a Black officer who was less eligible to be promoted to sergeant solely because of the officer’s race.
That officer’s lawyer, Chris Wiest, said it’s unlikely that Dlott’s ruling will negatively affect the department’s diversity.
“Some people believe that we need these requirements, but I think from my client’s perspective, if you want to end race and sex discrimination, you have to stop discriminating on the basis of race and sex,” Wiest said. Similar requirements in other municipalities have previously been lifted for the same reasons, he added.
There has been some pushback to the ruling by city officials, including Democratic Mayor John Cranley and Police Chief Eliot Isaac.
“As the current police chief, I can say that my own career benefitted from the consent decree,” Isaac said in a letter to President Biden. “Without it, I would not be chief.”