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Pittsburgh police department accused of hiring discrimination

We have written about hiring bias in local police departments all over Pennsylvania in the past. For some reason, those charged with enforcing the law seem to struggle to uphold it in some ways, failing to honor equal protection and antidiscrimination laws on the state and federal level, according to recent lawsuits.

The most recent example of this is the Pittsburgh Police Department, which is being sued by a total of five individuals. The individuals say that they applied to become police officers with the City of Pittsburgh but were rejected as a result of hiring practices that favor white applicants over African American applicants.

The lawsuit is being brought with help from the American Civil Liberties Union. A spokesperson from the ACLU said that since the lawsuit was initiated there have been two new classes of police officers entering the force and that while the demographics have improved, the make-up of the police force still does not reflect the city's overall demographics.

Less than four percent of newly hired police officers are African American, according to the lawsuit, and a total of only 16 percent of the force as a whole is African American. This is very low considering that nearly 30 percent of the population of Pittsburgh is African American.

The discrimination allegedly begins at the very start of the hiring process when the police department uses an aptitude test with a much higher failure rate for African American applicants compared with white applicants.

Needless to say, this type of systemic discrimination is unacceptable and employees and applicants to government jobs here in Pittsburgh should not tolerate it.

Source: New Pittsburgh Courier, "Whites Favored Over African-Americans, ACLU Amends Police Bias Suit," Rebecca Nuttall, April 23, 2013.

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