28 High-Ranking MPD Officers Could Be Demoted

Jessica Gertler, WREG (Memphis), January 20, 2015

More than two dozen high-ranking Memphis officers could be stripped of their positions by the end of the week.

The officers sued the city, saying the tests they took to get promoted discriminated against African-American officers, and that’s why they failed.

Now nearly 15 years later, the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge ruled the tests didn’t discriminate, and those officers should never have been promoted.

Twenty-eight officers were involved in the suit. They were promoted to lieutenant several years ago and have continued to climb rank. Some are now majors in the department.

City attorneys will meet with the officers to try to reach an agreement, but if they can’t, we could see changes in MPD.


A federal judge agreed with the officers in 2010, and ordered the officers keep their ranks, get back pay, and the city covers their $1 million court costs.

Now an appellate judge changed everything in late October, ruling the promotion test was perfectly fine and didn’t violate any civil rights laws.

“This ruling has been on the table for several weeks. The most recent action was in the Supreme Court that said it is not going to hear this case,” Chief Administrative Officer George Little said. “So either some agreement is reached relative to the demotions, or we are prepared to execute on the judge’s order and demote the individuals. Director Armstrong and his staff will figure out how to handle that.”

Little said the city will ultimately do what the court orders.


Little said this entire process has been tiresome for everyone involved.

“It has got to be stressful not knowing whether or not you are going to be demoted back. This was a group of individuals, so we got to make a decision as a group of individuals. We can’t pick one individual over another. I’m sure that’s creating issues within MPD,” Little said.


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  • Easyrhino

    “the tests they took to get promoted discriminated against African-American officers, and that’s why they failed.”

    No, the tests discriminated against those with below average intelligence. The fact that the group most impacted was African-Americans was incidental.

    • superlloyd

      Incidental but wholly predictable taking into account the negro bell curve.

      • The negro bell curve is shaped like an EBT card… One size fits all minorities.

      • John Smith

        Logical outcomes are racist.

  • rebelcelt

    “So either some agreement is reached relative to the demotions, or we are prepared to execute on the judge’s order and demote the individuals. Director Armstrong and his staff will figure out how to handle that.”

    What kind of agreement? Demote them now. They got huge raises that they did not deserve. Then promote the white Officers that did not get their promotions 15 years ago.

    • Mary

      Logical and fair, which is why it won’t happen.

      • LHathaway

        I’ll believe it when I see it.

    • wildfirexx

      15 years is a long time…the white police officers who were bypassed for a promotion should sue the courts. Right or wrong…this shows the incompetence of the justice system when the courts can overide each other’s decisions. The original judge who misinterpeted the law should be fired.

    • 1G25


  • The “disparate impact” doctrine is probably at the root of this case. It has to be, because these tests are all vetted and vetted again to make sure there is no “cultural bias.” So the plaintiffs’ only legal recourse is the DI doctrine, the notion that racial difference in scores and pass-fail rates are prima facie evidence of some sort of secret undetectable bias in the test.

    This is why that Texas case that SCOTUS is hearing this term is so important.

    • Yancy Derringer

      “Prima facie evidence”: Oh-oh… Don’t give college student-athletes any ideas.

    • propagandaoftruth

      Hey, this sounds to me like…

    • Spikeygrrl

      IF (please please PLEASE!) the plaintiff States are granted standing.

      I’m watching this case like the proverbial hawk.

    • John Smith

      I’m most worried about its immediate impact, as it applies to forcing majority-white communities to accept low-income housing to enhance “diversity.”

  • Luca

    I wonder if the test was written in cursive?

    • Oil Can Harry

      Blacks think it should have been written in Ebonics.

      • superlloyd

        They still wouldn’t have passed.

  • MekongDelta69

    “The officers sued the city, saying the tests they took to get promoted discriminated against African-American officers, and that’s why they failed.”

    Making blacks take a TEST?! “Holy Mackerel dere Andy.” Dat be rayciss…

  • Samuel_Morton

    This judge has some cojones! Demoting these whining charlatans is exactly the right thing to do.

  • Capn Dad

    Yeah I remember that. The black cops couldn’t pass the test because it was “intelligence demanding.” Same old story. Promotion lists in the military routinely manipulated by pulling a percentage of qualified soldiers off the list to make room for unqualified minority soldiers. Seen it many times. But here in Tennessee we don’t care about Memphis. Not a part of the state. Hope the New Madras fault line gets it.

  • SentryattheGate

    Fifteen years later! Remember the white Baltimore fire fighters that were not allowed promotions because blacks and Hispanics did not pass the test. It took 7 years to go through the courts, and their promotions finally given. Sonia Sotomayor (who was later put on the US Supreme Court) ruled against the white firefighters. One of the “racist” questions was “The fire is 150 feet away. Each hose is 50 ft. long, how many hoses will you need”. Incredible!

    • dd121

      Which is the reason our racist president appointed her.

      • Yancy Derringer

        Horrible appointee. Viciously pro-minority, anti-white.

        • SentryattheGate

          The “wise” Latina she calls herself!

    • Spaniard in LA

      The only Hispanic to pass the test Lt. Ben Vargas was attacked inside of a restaurant by a group of Blacks. He accused several Black firefighters of orchestrating the attack. Amazing what these people are capable of doing.

      • Michael Robert Ryan

        Yes, it’s just unreal. Words can’t describe it. And they wonder why people of other races (even other NAMs) want to live and work as far from them as possible.

        • TheMaskedUnit

          That’s the best way to oppress them … from as extreme distance as possible.

    • Lygeia

      So I am guessing the answer is 3 hoses? Gosh, that’s so hard! Glad I don’t live in Baltimore.

      • John Smith

        Simple, job-relevant math is racist.

  • dd121

    That Georgia judge is too honest. He just killed any chance of ever getting on the supreme court.

  • drattastic

    About time something good came out of the judiciary.

  • superlloyd

    Demote the AA African Americans. Get rid of disparate impact and dismantle AA across the board. No more racism for blacks against whites. Reward excellence not mediocrity.Save lives by not advancing incompetence and stupidity. One can but dream.

    • Spikeygrrl

      …and let us PLEASE euthanize the Federal Department of Education!!!

      I personally won’t be happy until ALL public schools government re-education camps AND their associated state and local administrative bureaucracies are — metaphorIcally — burned down to the ground.

      Is there any other structure/set of options to take their place? YOU BETCHA!…but that’s another post for another day.

  • HE2

    Read some time ago, as a result of black, brown, White disparate testing results, a certain IQ test was deemed racist.
    The question given as proof of racism being, “your father is leaving for work with a briefcase. What might his job be?”
    The multi-choice answer possibilities given were i.e.:
    1] fireman 2] stockbroker 3] fisherman.

    Those seeking redress cited this question as proof of the IQ test’s racial bias because most black kids do not know what a briefcase is. [Let alone what a daddy is.]
    No kidding.

    • Libnomore

      This reminds me of a similar statement made over 25 years ago by the black Chief of the San Francisco Fire Department. (SFFD). He had been appointed via affirmative action by the black San Francisco Mayor, Willie Brown. I retired from the SFFD in 1996 after a 30 year career.

      The “Chief” opined that the next written SFFD entrance examination should NOT include the word chandelier, because blacks never had them in their homes and therefore shouldn’t be expected to know what they are.

      Looking back, he may have been on to something. Another black SFFD affirmative action “lieutenant” wrote in an injury report, “He jump out the window and he have sprang in his angle.”

      Another affirmative action black lieutenant, after seeing (perhaps for the first time) the the 300 yard-wide lake south of San Francisco, asked his driver if that was the ocean (Pacific) or the Bay.

      • Lygeia

        I never attended a regatta, being in a landlocked area, yet I still knew what it was and did well on my Scholastic Achievement Test (ACT).

        Is it that pesky white privilege again because someone told me what it was or that I could consult a dictionary to learn words unfamiliar to me?

        • That’s where this whole hysteria about biased tests got started. Because every once in awhile, the SAT verbal analogy section had a question that required the test taker to know the general anatomy of a yacht in order to answer correctly. I’m so surprised that a test written around Ivy League college admissions sensibilities would ask a question about a yacht.

          But the SAT hasn’t had these kinds of questions in a long time; by the time I took the SAT in June 1994, having to dodge dinosaurs on my to and on my way from the testing site, the College Board was already years into making sure that there were no such questions on the test.

      • HE2

        the next written SFFD entrance examination should NOT include the word
        chandelier, because blacks never had them in their homes and therefore
        shouldn’t be expected to know what they are.

        All to familiar, Libnomore.
        Hypothetical situation:
        Possible terrorist call, first responder on the job says to co-worker, “unlikely, but we fear that chandelier may be wired with advanced tech IEDs. Call for help.”
        IQ impaired co-worker who flunked the test, but was hired anyway, does not know a chandelier from his left hind cheek. Probably never heard of an IED either.
        What next? A chalk talk? Ten minute catch up lecture?

        “He jump out the window and he have sprang in his angle.”
        Also familiar ungrammatical mess via Oakland P.D. after hiring of test flunking black AA cops became policy.
        Berkeley P.D. evaluative write-ups, reports, and 5150’s were universally intelligent and keenly perceptive until the Dept was forced to drop the Criminal Justice and Psychology degrees requirement for service on the force. The force was dumbed way way down with ebonics speaking/writing blacks hired, their illegible, uncomprehensible written reports becoming the butt of many a sick joke. White and [English fluent] Asian BPD officers still did well and were much appreciated.
        300 yard-wide lake south of San Francisco
        Do you mean Lake Merced? He thought that was the Pacific?

        • Libnomore

          The genius saw, possibly for the first time, Crystal Springs Reservoir, from which San Francisco gets its water. He and his crew were returning from a wild-lands fire training exercise near Woodside and were driving north on Highway 280 on their way back to San Francisco.

          • HE2

            Universally, many blacks do not venture beyond the city. The Great Outdoors is anathema, for which I am grateful.
            Wilderness camping, backpacking and hiking are almost entirely White activities.
            Crystal Springs, though man made is lovely. Much too far away and wild for black sensibilities.

          • John Smith

            Blacks don’t swim anyway, so all bodies of water look alike to them.

    • MBlanc46

      IQ tests should be culturally neutral, and one that mentions briefcases certainly is not. There are a lot of nonverbal instruments and they should be used in most cases. That said, I saw somewhere (and can’t vouch for its accuracy) that blacks tend to do better on culturally-loaded than on non-loaded tests.

      • Spikeygrrl

        How are briefcases “culturally loaded”? Just because nobody in the test-taker’s real life uses one?! This rationalization conveniently “forgets” TELEVISION! I’ve never been on a yacht or a hot air balloon — never mind owning one — but I know one when I see one because I’ve SEEN THEM ON TV.

        Shot down that excuse, thanks for playing, do you wanna try again?

        • meanqueen

          Also, any test used to screen applicants should look at “fund of knowledge.” Raw intelligence is not enough – you have to know something about the world you live in. This cultural bias claim is crap.

          • Spikeygrrl

            BIG upvote.
            (Let’s see if this passes the moderators, who have recently begun removing any posts of the “I wish I could upvote you more than once” variety.)

          • meanqueen


          • John Smith

            Ignorance isn’t always a direct correlation with intelligence, but someone intelligent usually has some curiosity to know more.

        • MBlanc46

          OK, so maybe briefcases aren’t culturally loaded. In that case, no one should whine that the test was biased against them because one needs to know what a briefcase was to answer the question. No need to invalidate the test and promote the people who failed it. Thanks for playing. Want to try again?

          • Spikeygrrl

            Oooh, you’re a slick one. 🙂

            The article did not specify the type of bias in the firefighter test…but you immediately a$$/u/med that the allegedly biased questions were the same sort of “common sense” questions as the one about the briefcase (which was not even part of the firefighter test).

            Thanks for playing!

          • HE2

            Spikey, it is a common sense question, one that measures beyond raw intelligence.
            For the sake of discourse, suppose during a response call, a firefighter were ordered by a co-worker to “watch out for the briefcase, it may contain an explosive device.”
            This supposedly grown man or woman firefighter has never seen a briefcase, cannot recognize one as such by that term? What now?

          • Libnomore

            Lack of familiarity with a briefcase is just the tip of the iceberg when it became apparent that some blacks hired via affirmative action for the San Francisco Fire Department (SFFD) were sorely lacking in knowledge of basic English usage. Incidentally, all of the blacks mentioned in the following incidents were graduates of San Francisco high schools.

            One quota-hire black lieutenant rushed with his crew to a parking lot looking for a “Cadillac” even though the computer printout in his hand was alerting him to a possible “cardiac”.

            Another quota-hire black wrote on an incident report, “The deceased greeted us at the door”.

            And then there was the affirmative-action black who said he could interpret to a Hispanic woman what a fire had done to her
            kitchen. He told her, “El stovo broko.”

            Yet another black affirmative action whiz kid “Lieutenant” asked his crew for help when filling out the required incident report following a fire in a florescent light fixture. They told him that the ballast had shorted. On hearing that word he looked perplexed but consulted a dictionary that was so old it only described “ballast” as the weight in the bottom of an old time sailing vessel, and not in the more modern sense. He stormed out of his office yelling at his crew, “You M Fs is funnin’ me”.

            Another SFFD affirmative action hiree, this time of North African extraction, hung up the hot line when the dispatcher called his station to send them to a possible heart attack victim. His response, on tape, was, “I do not understand,” and he hung up, more than once. Another crew was sent, and the Arab was sent to San Francisco City College to brush up his English. This humiliated him enough for him to hire an attorney who took his case to a liberal San Fransisco judge. He was awarded a large settlement, but, thank goodness, was “permitted to resign” from the SFFD.

          • HE2

            Lib, your S.F. anecdotes are horrendous. Truth is, Oakland is just as bad, but no worry, they are promoted because of their black or brownness.
            The sad fact is, the dumbing down of public safety and civil service jobs endangers all of us.
            It is just as cringe-worthy that low IQ and inadequately vetted individuals are also processing IRS returns, accessing citizens’ financial histories, health records, bank accounts, IRAs, investment holdings. We are fish in a barrel.

        • Also, black kids watch more television than do white kids.

        • John Smith

          Surely they know that’s what drug dealers carry their payoffs in.

      • Speedy Steve

        Bantus on da telebishun ain’t totin’ no briefcaes inch hit gnome sane?

      • HE2

        Mr. B., the term briefcase “culturally loads” an IQ test question? A briefcase is not an esoteric object.
        I will concede if the test subject were a feral child as Genie, presents with a grossly discernible cognitive deficit,
        is blind from birth, or newly arrived on the Obozo Central American Express Train from downriver Amazon, the question might be arguably obscure.
        Otherwise, disagree.
        Pattern and object recognition, probability, reasoning, other [g]eneral intelligence elements and the common sense conclusion emerges.
        Time was, Ellis Island workers conducted such tests on aspiring immigrants for admittance eligibility.
        If one flunked, it was back on the boat you go.
        Too bad we are not as intelligent as we were than.

        • MBlanc46

          It might be esoteric to you if you grew up in the Robert Taylor Homes. It is acquired knowledge and some acquire it and some don’t, unlike, say, reverse number sequences.

          • HE2

            Mr. B., one wonders how many units in the [now leveled] RT Homes owned flat screen TVs? Odds are, most.
            Television is the primary babysitter for black kids from day one.
            No way in heck such a child would not have seen a briefcase and consciously or unconsciously connected with its intended contextual use in the world around him.
            Otherwise, OK, the test subject flunks that question, so be it. Noted and factored into his/her final score and intellectual fitness for employment.
            Any public safety job applicant missing such a question should NOT be hired.
            Enjoy talking to you, Mel.

  • Speedy Steve

    I heard Dallas is hiring Memphis cops. They can Section 8N their Memphis homes and walk the beat in Cowboy country. I hope they get to administer wood shampoo to negro perps.

    • John Smith

      Often the negro officers treat their fellows worse than whites, same as they would back in Africa, where they terrorize the local population worse than the criminals.

  • DiversityIsDeath

    Ohhh snap! Dis is embarrasin! * keek-keek-keek *

  • Rurik

    As a start, the Federal judge should be removed from office with forfeiture of pay and pension benefits, and then publicly flogged.

  • Lygeia

    It took 15 years, but justice was done.

    • Germanic Depressive

      That means justice wasn’t done.

      • MooTieFighter

        I’ll be surprised if they demote anyone. They will be worried about the public backlash, of doing the right thing.

        • GuestPoster

          They may just not have a choice in the matter. If the court orders them to demote the blacks then they have no choice. They must demote the blacks. Regardless of the public backlash.


          • John Smith

            They’ll create new sinecures for these brothas-in-blue – perhaps more “minority outreach coordinators.” The irony of that, in Membabwe, would be delicious.

          • GuestPoster

            Let them go ahead and do that. But make sure their superiors demote them to the appropriate rank and pay. After they do that who cares where they stick them.

          • John Smith

            This is how they will keep the pay levels up, though they may lose rank. I rather predict they’ll just increase the numbers specified at each billet, though.

  • TomIron361

    Many years ago, a sargents test was given by the NYPD. A black patrolman took and failed the test. He was told that he would be promoted to sgt. anyway because they wanted blacks to make sgt. He said, he wouldn’t take such a promotion. That there’d be another test and he would take that test. A couple years later, there was a small article in the paper that said he’d taken the next test and been promoted sgt. That was the first and last black man I ever heard of doing the right thing.

    • Who Me?

      Oh, there’s a few of them out there somewhere, but they are few and far between. The occasional exception that proves the rule, does not change the general bell curve of the group as a whole.

  • Speedy Steve

    So he snitched and din’do nuffins at the same time. Truly amazing!

  • Those officers should also be forced to pay back any pay differential they “earned” due to their unjust promotions.

  • John Smith

    Intelligence is racist.

  • John Smith

    A real rocket scientist, that one. Proof that blacks are only fit to supply muscle, not brains.

  • Libnomore

    This brings to mind another race-based fiasco that occurred when I was a member of the San Francisco Fire Department. In the early ’90s, during the mandatory months-long training session at the training facility, the four blacks in the class, 3 men, 1 woman, nearly always aced the weekly written exams but failed in field trials. The head of the training facility grew suspicious, and at the last minute, substituted a brand new written exam on the morning of the next written exam. The four “stellar” test takers, flunked, badly. It seems one of the instructors, a black man, had been dating the lone black woman in the class and was giving her the test answers days before each Friday morning test. The four “graduated” along with the rest of the class, but quickly became known at The Cheaters. Wait for it.

    Their distress was so great on finding they had become known as The Cheaters, they took the usual step, and hired an attorney. San Francisco, formerly known as The City That Knows How, also took the usual step and awarded each one of them $35,000. And the beat goes on.