A federal jury set the cost of former Milwaukee Police Chief Arthur Jones’s discrimination against 17 white male lieutenants at nearly $2.2 million yesterday, ending a monthlong trial and the officers’ two-year effort to prove the black police chief was biased. The jury had found that each plaintiff had been wrongfully passed over multiple times for promotions to captain in favor of less-qualified women and members of ethnic minorities. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission had rejected the case.
Individual compensatory damages ranged from $9,500 to $50,000, for a total of $464,500. Each man was also awarded punitive damages of $102,000. The punitive damages total $1,734,000; it was unclear who might be responsible for paying them, the city or named individuals. U.S. District Judge Thomas Curran will rule later on what back pay the men deserve, and whether the 13 plaintiffs still working as lieutenants should be promoted to captain.