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Women and Minority Officers Who Charged Discrimination Offered Settlement

March 29, 1988

CHICAGO (AP) _ Women, black and Hispanic police officers who said the department discriminated in hiring and promotion practices have been offered $9.2 million in back pay and an upgrade in seniority, officials say.

The consent decree signed by the city and the federal government and announced Monday by the Justice Department must be formally approved by U.S. District Judge Prentice Marshall.

The settlement, which ended a 15-year legal battle, calls for the city to give back pay to 729 women, blacks and Hispanics and to adjust their seniority dates..

Attorney Richard Gutman, who has represented two women in the case since 1974, called the settlement ″recognition that people’s rights were violated. ... But even today, there are only 30 female sergeants out of about 1,200 on the force.

″The current training class will yield only the first female lieutenant in the history of the department,″ Gutman added. ″That speaks for itself.″

City Corporation Counsel Judson Miner said the settlement was fair.

″There were many components to this case that had to be tried over a period of years,″ he said. ″One of the priorities of this office has been to resolve longstanding cases and still protect the interests of the city.″

Police Chief LeRoy Martin will withhold comment until he has reviewed the decree, said spokeswoman Jackie Kimber.

Before 1973, women were not hired for the department’s patrol force, prompting a spate of individual legal actions. Black and Hispanic males had charged in similar lawsuits that police department hiring and promotion tests had a discriminatory effect.

The federal government consolidated the complaints in 1973, making itself the plaintiff.

Marshall, who presided over the case, ruled in 1976 that the city violated the equal-opportunity provisions of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The proposed decree requires the city to establish an interest-bearing fund of $9.2 million for reimbursements to discrimination victims.

The decree covers:

- 233 women on the 1972 policewoman eligibility list who were hired or reclassified as police officers and who passed probation, or who were employed before March 24, 1972, as policewomen or matrons and were subsequently reclassified as police officers.

- 455 black and Hispanic men who applied for the 1968 or 1971 patrol officers eligibility lists and were hired from March 24, 1972, to Dec. 31, 1978, as patrolmen or police officers from those lists, and who paased probation.

- The first three women promoted to sergeant after March 24, 1972, who served as policewomen or matrons in 1968 or before that time.

- The first 38 black and Hispanic men who applied for promotion to sergeant in 1968 and who were promoted to that rank from March 24, 1972, to Dec. 31, 1973.

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