St. Louis deputy fire chief wins discrimination lawsuit

Saturday, May 28, 2011 | 4:42 p.m. CDT

ST. LOUIS — A black deputy fire chief in St. Louis has won $350,000 in a racial discrimination lawsuit.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that a St. Louis jury Friday awarded Charles Coyle $300,000 for actual damages. Coyle filed a lawsuit that claimed he was passed over in 2007 in favor of a white subordinate for the top job as fire chief. The jury also gave Coyle $50,000 of the $1 million he had sought in punitive damages.

In the lawsuit, Coyle claimed the city violated its charter by reaching below the deputy chief level to choose Dennis Jenkerson as fire chief.

The city argued that Jenkerson was chosen because he had the top test scores and because officials thought he was the best fit, not because of race.

Coyle's lawyer claimed the tests were tilted against blacks.


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