Missouri Deputy Fire Chief Wins Discrimination Lawsuit

May 31, 2011

A black deputy fire chief in St. Louis has won $350,000 in a racial discrimination lawsuit.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that a St. Louis jury Friday awarded Charles Coyle $300,000 for actual damages in the lawsuit in which Coyle claimed he was passed over in 2007 in favor of a white subordinate for the top job. The jury also gave Coyle $50,000 of the $1 million he had sought in punitive damages.

Coyle claimed the city violated its charter by reaching below the deputy chief level to choose Dennis Jenkerson as fire chief.

The city argued that Jenkerson was chosen because he had the top test scores and because officials thought he was the best fit, not because of race.

Coyle’s lawyer claimed the tests were tilted against blacks.

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