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Ex-NYC Deputy Sheriffs’ Settle Racial Bias Claims

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New York Civil Rights Lawyer Eric Sanders, Esq., of The Sanders Firm, P.C., announces that three former New York City Sheriffs’ settle their racial bias claims

New York, May 12, 2018, – On Friday, after the Court determined Messrs. Barry Brown and Sean G. Harris, Ms. Tara Johnson adequately pled claims of race discrimination during the application and review process for the position of Deputy Sheriff, the parties have reached a settlement agreement.

Brown, Harris and Johnson will each receive more than $200,000 in compensation.

Brown, a Marine Corps veteran and Harris, an Army veteran will each receive $220,000. Johnson, who ultimately got a job in another city agency, will receive $205,000.

According to the lawsuits, Brown, Harris and Johnson are former employees of the New York City Department of Finance – Sheriff’s Division, employed as Deputy Sheriffs. Deputy Sheriffs are peace officers as defined under the New York State Criminal Procedure Law and authorized to make warrantless arrests, issue summonses, conduct vehicle stops, carry and use firearms, batons, pepper spray, handcuffs, and use physical and deadly force. Deputy Sheriffs in their civil enforcement role are authorized to enforce parts of the New York State Civil Practice Law and Rules (“CPLR”).

Brown, Harris and Johnson contended that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits psychological testing designed to, or that has a tendency to, discriminate based upon race. Moreover, psychological testing where the administration results in disparate treatment or disparate impact upon applicants or employees based upon race, violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Brown, Harris and Johnson sued the City of New York, Former New York City Department of Finance Commissioners David Frankel, Beth E. Goldman and Jacques Jiha and several NYPD Psychologists Eloise M. Archibald, Frank P. Pesale, Sarah Lazer-Gomez and Alexander Stratis.

In May 2013, Brown, Harris and Johnson were terminated. They claimed their terminations were based upon the racially biased psychological evaluations under NYPD Psychological Services. They further claimed that the entire pool, one hundred (100) percent of Black or African-American candidates were psychologically disqualified. Moreover, sixty (60) percent of the pool of Black or African-American psychologically disqualified candidates went onto become members of other law enforcement agencies including the New Jersey State Police. Brown and Harris appealed their psychological disqualifications to the New York Civil Service Commission. After filing the appeal, the New York City Civil Service Commission affirmed both psychological disqualifications. With respect to the Brown appeal, he claims the affirmation was upheld along racial lines. Brown claims, Commissioners Nancy G. Chaffetz and Charles D. McFaul voted to affirm despite their pointed questioning about the veracity of the psychological assessments and Commissioner Rudy Washington voted to reverse the New York City Department of Finance’s determination and find him qualified for the position of Deputy Sheriff after his pointed questioning about the veracity of the psychological assessments.

Shortly after Brown, Harris and Johnson filed their federal lawsuits, the City of New York and other parties motioned the court to dismiss the cases.

After a period of time, the courts granted the motions to dismiss against the New York City Department of Finance Commissioners and denied as to the others. In the court decisions, it determined Brown, Harris and Johnson have adequately pled disparate treatment and disparate impact in the psychological screening process of candidates seeking appointment to the position of Deputy Sheriff for the City of New York. Additionally, they adequately pled a Monell claim against the City.

On Friday, after completing some brief discovery, the parties were able to reach a settlement agreement.

“Although, plaintiffs’ didn’t ultimately become Deputy Sheriffs’ they have fulfilled the primary purpose of filing these federal lawsuits, which was to shed light on the fundamental unfairness of the psychological evaluation during the application and review process for African-Americans. With these settlements, plaintiffs are hopeful that the NYPD and the Department of Finance will significantly change the psychological evaluation consistent with the Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures (“UGESP”) under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964,” says Eric Sanders.

The cases are: Barry Brown v. City of New York, et al. 16 cv 1106, Sean G. Harris v. City of New York, et al., 16 cv 00113 and Tara Johnson v. City of New York, et al., 16 cv 3647. All cases were filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York.


The Sanders Firm, P.C. offers those in the New York City area legal services related and connected to civil rightscivil service rightscriminal law and discrimination. We firmly believe in everyone’s individual rights that are described and guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States of America. We understand that our freedoms and liberties are sacrosanct and that they have been won in many and various hard-fought battles. We are committed in every way to protecting your civil rights. We are your voice for justice!


Eric Sanders, Esq.
President and Owner, The Sanders Firm, P.C.
Business Phone: 212-652-2782

Read Brown Court Decision

Read Harris Court Decision

Read Johnson Court Decision

Read New York Daily News

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