Posted: Jul 5, 2012 5:56 PM by Caroline Flores - email@example.com
Updated: Jul 5, 2012 6:53 PM
CORPUS CHRISTI - City leaders are responding to a lawsuit filed by the Department of Justice. City of Corpus Christi officials say the lawsuit filed on Tuesday caught them off guard. The government alleges the police department discriminated against women trying to join the police department between 2005-2011 based on physical fitness requirements.
Assistant City Manager Troy Riggs says he found out about the Department of Justice lawsuit when he was bombarded by phone calls and emails asking him what happened. The suit was filed even though the city and the DOJ had been negotiating for two years to resolve the issue.
Originally, the Department of Justice said they would try to come to an agreement with the city and avoid any type of suit. Riggs says the two sides have been negotiating on a regular basis which is why the lawsuit came as such a huge surprise.
he city is trying to find out why the lawsuit was filed but in the meantime, Riggs is confident the problems will be resolved.
"The process may have changed but the final result, we're being told, is going to be the same. There's going to be a consent decree," said Riggs.
Riggs describes the consent decree as like a plea bargain. "We are working together that is mutually acceptable to both parties. And then you go to court you put that in front of a judge and you get that signed off on," said Riggs.
Then the city will have to live with the findings of the decree. Riggs says some things we may see in the decree is the $700,000 set aside for women harmed by the police academy testing procedure. It will also deal with the number of women that will need to be hired by the police department, and the creation of two separate physical fitness tests for men and women to enter into the academy.
Riggs says he has been told that a consent decree should be signed and put into action by this Fall.
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