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Group sues St. Louis over police promotion procedures

ST. LOUIS (AP) — A police group that advocates for minority officers filed a lawsuit against St. Louis and some city officials contending that procedures used for promotions do not give minority officers an equal chance to advance their careers.

The Ethical Society of Police said in a lawsuit filed Wednesday that the city is breaking its own rules by maintaining the same rank promotion lists for more than four years.

The city has had the same promotion lists since June 2017, although city civil service rules say the lists are supposed to expire after two years unless extended.

Tests overseen by the St. Louis Department of Personnel are used to create lists of the best candidates to be promoted to lieutenant and captain.

The lawsuit contends the personnel department has sought emergency extensions to delay the tests without proper justification.

The older lists are more likely to include a larger proportion of white officers hired before racial equity standards were implemented and who have more experience in the jobs, “allowing them to rank better on the promotion lists,” according to the lawsuit.

The plaintiffs want the city to pause promotions to the ranks of lieutenant and captain until testing produces a new list of candidates.

Korey Lewis, assistant city counselor, wrote in documents filed with the lawsuit that testing had been postponed for financial reasons because the process is expensive.

Mayoral spokesman Nick Dunne said the city could not comment on pending litigation.

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