CINCINNATI — The promotion of a Black Cincinnati police lieutenant to the rank of captain will move forward, despite a request by two white Cincinnati lieutenants for an injunction to stop the promotion while their lawsuit continues in federal court.
U.S. District Court Judge Michael R. Barrett wrote in an opinion published on Sunday that Lt. Andrew Mitchell and Lt. David Schofield's preliminary injunction request didn't meet all four elements for it to be issued – most prominent, that defendants Mitchell and Schofield couldn't show they would suffer irreparable harm if Norris were promoted while their lawsuit is ongoing.
Mitchell and Schofield filed suit in September, when Norris was scheduled to be promoted. The promotion is based on the department's 1987 consent decree, which was put in place to promote more Blacks and women within the department. Mitchell and Schofield's suit alleges the consent decree violates equal protection under the 14th amendment of the U.S. Constitution and argued the continued use of it by the department discriminates against white males.
In September, Federal Judge Susan Dlott ruled that the department's 1981 consent decree – which required that a certain percentage of new hires by Cincinnati police were to be Black or female officers – was no longer necessary because the department had significantly improved the diversity of its police force since 1981.
"Evidence of prior discrimination from over 40 years ago is too remote in time to provide an important governmental interest in remedying said discrimination," Dlott wrote in her opinion.