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San Jose Police Lieutenant Sues Department, City

San Jose Mercury News via YellowBrix

December 17, 2009

The list expires after two years, at which point candidates must retake the exam.

“You study hard, do all kinds of things, and to allow the chief to vary it in any way, shape or form is unfair,” Lopez said. “If you’re on that list, you’re eligible to be promoted and they should go down that line or give a good reason” why not.

“It’s a competitive process,” said Doyle, adding that “the fact you don’t get it the first or second time doesn’t mean there is discrimination. It just means it’s not your time. The bottom line is he’s now a lieutenant, and we found no evidence of discrimination.”

In the lawsuit, filed Dec. 8 in San Jose federal court, Harper contends that he has been harassed by San Jose police officials and falsely accused of petty incidents of misconduct in an effort to make a file on him in order to justify their decision not to promote him.

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According to the lawsuit, Harper took the lieutenant’s exam in 2002 and 2004. In December 2004, Davis promoted a number of nonblack officers who were ranked below Harper on the list. Harper requested an explanation from police officials as to why he was not promoted but was not given a reason, according to the lawsuit.

In June 2005, Harper filed a complaint of race discrimination with the state Department of Fair Employment and Housing. The complaint was referred to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which did not take action and sent Harper a right-to-sue letter, according to the lawsuit.

Harper took the promotional examination again in 2006 and was ranked fifth on the list. On Feb. 7, 2007, Davis promoted the top four-ranked officers on the list, as well as those ranked 8, 10 and 11, according to the lawsuit. Harper alleges the reason he was passed over was because of the complaint he filed in 2005.

On Jan. 13, 2008, Davis promoted nine officers who were ranked below Harper from the list based off 2006 exam scores. That list expired Dec. 20, 2008, according to the lawsuit.

Harper took the exam again in December 2008 and was promoted to lieutenant in February, according to the lawsuit.

In July 2007, Harper received a “nondisciplinary” transfer from vice to patrol after being told by his superiors that a female officer made a discrimination/harassment complaint against him. Harper argues that an investigation into the allegation was completed in March 2008 and determined the claim to be “unfounded.”

Harper alleges Davis used that situation as a pretext to publicly embarrass and discipline him in retaliation for filing the racial discrimination complaint with the state board in 2005.

“I think San Jose has a very good record of not having any racial discrimination in employment,” Doyle said. “We go to great pains to make sure we don’t.”


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  • Car6_max50

    Ahi

    over 4 years ago

    1990 Comments

    seems like there are only going to be problems with this situation from here on out.

  • Joefriday_max50

    alexy

    over 4 years ago

    3970 Comments

    Play that card.

  • Divas_missy_tina_max50

    tamra

    over 4 years ago

    944 Comments

    24 year veteran in one of the most diverse police departments in the country and he's claiming racial bias? if he was there for 24 years, he should definitely know of Chief Covarrubias as well as other minority commanders.

    which makes me ask, what happened here? or assume there's more to this. there have been cops there who have never been promoted from original rank, but their performance and integrity were issues.

    either way, something's not adding up, as in exact reasons for not being promoted earlier are unknown. passing a test doesn't mean auto promotion in many cases. personalities, interactions w/others all matter esp for positions of leadership.

  • 1979_max50

    Robocop33

    over 4 years ago

    14618 Comments

    Hey guys, the written test alone should ne be the sole factor in promotions. I have known a number of people who can ace tests, (or score very high), that wouldn't make a good FTO, much less a supervisor.

  • 1979_max50

    Robocop33

    over 4 years ago

    14618 Comments

    What BS! The man has already been promoted and THEN he files a lawsuit contending that he should have been promoted sooner? Well excuse the hell out of me Lt. Harper! Sounds like they should not have promoted you that last time to me. Stop using the colour of your skin as a crutch.

  • Badge__hat_max50

    Baxter2

    over 4 years ago

    1846 Comments

    Man, if every officer sued the department everytime he or she didn't get promoted, you'd have to set up a whole new branch of the court system to deal with those cases. It happens to everybody during his or her career. Get over it and get back to work.

  • Ba_old_glory_max50

    Jonas

    over 4 years ago

    42222 Comments

    No comment!

  • Police_link_badge_max50

    HEYSARGE

    over 4 years ago

    16726 Comments

    Sounds like there might be some legal issues......Also maybe the new Lt. might not be doing well during his probation as a LT. and though perhaps he would file a lawsuit on some old issues believing the department wouldn't fire or demote him if he didn't make probation..Hmmmm

  • Spartan_cops_max50

    Lawful_Blue

    over 4 years ago

    1184 Comments

    Not worth a comment..........

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Anonymous

    over 4 years ago

    I'm not to sure about this one...seems like a lot of bickering back and forth between a chief and a person that thinks he deserves a promotion (that he ultimately got).

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Anonymous

    over 4 years ago

    If he has proof, after the written score and oral board, that his scores were higher than others chosen, great lawsuit and hope he wins. But if the others had highers scores, shut up and quit playing the race card. This should be plain and simple to sort out.

  • Uni1_max50

    Deli734

    over 4 years ago

    410 Comments

    He's back and he stepped on someones toes...the end.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Anonymous

    over 4 years ago

    No comment.

  • Untitledma28839986-0002_max50

    Irishcop1961

    over 4 years ago

    50458 Comments

    No comment.

  • Washington_max50

    WASP7000

    over 4 years ago

    998 Comments

    Very strange about them skipping over candidates on a ranked list. That being said, I doubt it was because of race, unless of course all the other officers they skipped were black as well. But that would look pretty suspect, would it not? Maybe that ranked list doesn't take into account the candidates oral board or something else.

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