The Baltimore County Police Department (BCPD) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) reached a $2 million settlement Wednesday on a lawsuit alleging that the BCPD had discriminated against black job applicants, according to The Baltimore Sun.
BCPD must pay $2 million to eligible candidates who were denied employment due to one of the tests in the application process that the DOJ challenged, per the same outlet. In addition, BCPD will reportedly prioritize hiring 20 of the applicants who were denied, once they meet the requirements of position.
The DOJ suit reportedly claimed the tests used to vet applicants — tests of things such as logic, reading, grammar and other skills — disproportionately eliminated black Americans from the hiring pool.
“The agency believes the ploy worked because Blacks failed the test at a much greater rate than white counterparts, resulting in fewer Black police officers making it into the force. The lawsuit noted that the difference was ‘statistically significant.'” Yahoo! News reported. (RELATED: Justice Department Distributes Over $458 Million To Combat Violent Crime)
A new test is in the works, according to The Baltimore Sun. Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski stated in a press release reported by the same outlet that “even prior to this lawsuit, [he] joined Chief Hyatt to begin efforts that increase the diversity of [the local] police force.”
“This settlement will help hold Baltimore County accountable as we continue working toward that critical goal — while also helping to further ensure our Police Department can best serve all of Baltimore County’s residents,” Olszewski continued in the release.