Posted on September 28, 2004

Judge Tells State Police To Promote Two ASAP

Mary Allen, The News Journal (Wilmington), Sep. 25

A federal judge late Friday ordered the Delaware State Police to promote two troopers in accordance with a January jury decision that the men were denied advancement under an illegal quota system that benefited minorities.

“They are overjoyed,” Wilmington attorney Thomas S. Neuberger said of his clients, Master Cpls. Jeffrey Giles and William Bullen.

U.S. District Judge Joseph J. Farnan Jr. issued the order with a 12-page opinion explaining the men should be promoted to sergeant when the next two vacancies occur. He rejected arguments made by attorneys for the state police, who maintained Bullen and Giles are no longer eligible for promotion because they have not passed the most recent testing requirements. Police also argued that promoting Bullen and Giles now would displace other corporals eligible for promotion.

Lt. Joseph P. Aviola, state police spokesman, said late Friday the agency had not yet received a copy of the decision. “We will comply with Judge Farnan’s order,” he said.

The federal jury in January awarded Bullen and Giles a combined total of roughly $350,000 and found they had been discriminated against because they are white. The men were on a promotion eligibility list in September 2001 when it was frozen and expired.

In his decision, Farnan said the state police argument that Bullen and Giles are no longer eligible for promotion ignores the jury’s findings. If it were not for the illegal discrimination against them, Farnan wrote, the troopers would already be sergeants.

He also noted that Bullen and Giles have said they are willing to wait for the next available sergeant openings, instead of displacing current sergeants, and therefore would not injure innocent third parties. He also said the number of vacancies for sergeant positions is already overstated by two because of the illegal discrimination.