Memphis police lieutenants who were denied a higher rank in 2005 when the city decided test results weren’t “racially balanced” may get promotions or back pay because of this week’s Supreme Court ruling on New Haven firefighters. About 30 officers are involved in Memphis. The Supreme Court ruled that New Haven discriminated against white firefighters when it threw out the results of a test in which no African-Americans did well enough to merit promotions. Memphis similarly threw out the results of a test for lieutenants who hoped to become majors in 2005.
After the original tests were thrown out, a second test was administered. That test, said city human resources director Lorene Essex, “proved to be more racially balanced,” which she defined as producing an equal distribution of minority and nonminority candidates.