A federal jury found that Milwaukee’s former police chief discriminated against 17 white men by promoting women and minorities ahead of them.
The jury, which reached its verdict Tuesday, will return next week to decide how much the plaintiffs should get in damages.
The 17 are seeking more than $5 million and an immediate promotion to captain if applicable. Two are now captains, two others are retired.
“Total victory,” proclaimed one of the plaintiffs, Lt. Steven Alexander.
During the three-week trial, the plaintiffs claimed that former Police Chief Arthur Jones, who is black, discriminated by repeatedly promoting women and minorities to captain ahead of better-qualified white men.
Assistant City Attorney Miriam Horwitz countered that Milwaukee’s police chiefs have long had wide latitude in appointing captains and said 21 of the 41 captains Jones named were white men.
Jones said of the verdict: “I believe that it is a blow to diversification, and I think that’s very important to a municipal police department, especially here in Milwaukee.”