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A Judge Has Struck Down The Cincinnati Police Department's Diversity Consent Decree

A federal judge in Cincinnati is ruling a consent decree dating to the early 1980s must be modified to remove race- and sex-based hiring goals.

Judge Susan Dlott sided with the U.S. Attorney General and an officer who challenged the agreement between the city of Cincinnati and its police department. The agreement had mandated at least 25% of all officers promoted must be Black and/or female.

Dlott's ruling says "The city has failed to present any important governmental interest to justify the consent decree’s sex-based hiring and promotional goals. Accordingly, those provisions are unconstitutional and must be stricken."

The sides have 90 days to propose any modifications to the consent decree.

In a statement, Police Chief Eliot Isaac says "it is disappointing to see this go away. I recognized its benefits over the years. We will continue to look towards other avenues to create a diverse workforce that is reflective of the community we serve."

WVXU Previously Reported In March

Federal officials in March asked a judge to re-open discussion about the 1981 consent decree regulating diversity at the Cincinnati Police Department.

The agreement mandates at least 25% of all officers promoted must be Black and/or female. Sergeant Eric Kohler is suing the city based on that requirement.

His attorney, Tom Bruns, spoke with WCPO: "He was actually bypassed for a promotion by a racial minority simply because Eric Kohler is white," Bruns said.

The U.S. Attorney General's Office also filed a motion to re-open the consent decree case because of the new lawsuit.

CPD Chief Eliot Isaac and Mayor John Cranley sent President Joe Biden a letter Wednesday, saying re-opening the agreement could set back decades of progress in minority inclusion. Isaac, who is Black, says without the consent decree, he would not be chief today.

Kohler's lawsuit also challenges a similar consent decree between the U.S. and the state of Ohio.

Senior Editor and reporter at WVXU with more than 20 years experience in public radio; formerly news and public affairs producer with WMUB. Would really like to meet your dog.
Local Government Reporter with a particular focus on Cincinnati; experienced journalist in public radio and television throughout the Midwest. Enthusiastic about: civic engagement, public libraries, and urban planning.