St. Louis city and police department face gender discrimination lawsuits

ST. LOUIS, MO (KPLR) – On Tuesday St. Louis city police Major Rochelle Jones and attorney J.C. Pleban held a press conference to talk about a lawsuit filed in circuit court naming the City of St. Louis, Mayor Francis Slay and Chief Sam Dotson. It claims the chief passed over Major Jones for a promotion to Lieutenant Colonel because she`s a woman. Jones a 33 year veteran says she has 7 more years of experience more education and tested better than the appointed colonel who is also black. Major Michael Caruso a third and final person up for the same job is also suing claiming he was passed up because he`s white. Jones says she wants to set an example for younger officers adding that only one woman has been promoted to Lieutenant Colonel in the last 200 years.

Attorneys are hoping for a trial by jury and say the process can take 1 to 2 years to complete.

The police released the following statement:

The promotional process within the police department, as within all City departments, is administered by the Personnel Division of City of St. Louis.

The St. Louis Police Officers' Association (SLPOA) previously filed a lawsuit against the City in regards to the promotional process for police officer to sergeant. The Ethical Society of Police (ESOP) has also been critical that there have not been enough promotions of American American officers. Therefore, the department has been criticized both for not promoting enough African American candidates, as well as for not promoting Caucasian candidates. The promotional process for lieutenant colonel, like all promotional processes, followed the civil service process outlined by the Personnel Division.

Because this request involves pending litigation, the department cannot comment further.

Statement from the Ethical Society of Police:

Any form of discrimination is wrong and there have been many examples of this for all races under Chief Dotson. Qualified candidates of all races, especially Blacks have been excluded from promotion. The promotional process needs a complete overhaul, that's based on mostly merit. This is why we created a promotional proposal for the City of St. Louis. The many lawsuits indicate change was needed before and definitely during Chief Dotson's tenure.

We are alarmed by both Major Jones and Major Caruso's lawsuits. Neither have been vocal and stood up for the community, and spoken out against police corruption within SLMPD. Neither have stood up for qualified Black and White Officers who have failed to receive the promotions they have deserved. We wonder why there was no press release or statement about the White Male Sergeant and Black Female Sergeant that finished 1 and 3 on the previous Lieutenant's promotional process who were NOT promoted? Where was Major Caruso and Major Jones when less qualified supervisors where promoted by Chief Dotson instead of these two? The ESOP also wonders when they will speak about equality for "everyone," and not just themselves. We all know corruption and cronyism exists within SLMPD, but yet Caruso and Jones have chosen to make press releases about something that benefits them and not the community in which they police, or the many good, and hard working officers within SLMPD.

When both become vocal about standing up for the community, against police corruption and stand up for positive officers maybe their lawsuits would have more credence to the ESOP.