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City settles police lieutenant’s discrimination lawsuit

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RACINE — The city has settled a federal workplace discrimination lawsuit brought by Racine Police Lt. Al Days for $5,000.

Filed in April, the lawsuit stemmed from a complaint Days filed with the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development Equal Rights Division in 2011. The complaint claimed that former Police Chief Kurt Wahlen overlooked Days, who is black, and another potential minority candidate for two promotions because of their race.

The city denied the discrimination allegation, asserting Days was denied promotion for “legitimate, nondiscriminatory reasons.”

When an ERD Civil Rights investigator later found there was “no probable cause” to the complaint in January 2012, Days and his attorney, Shannon McDonald, appealed the decision. Nine months later, Days requested the case be dismissed, which paved the way for the federal discrimination lawsuit he brought in 2013.

Dismissed on Jan. 6, the federal lawsuit asked that Days be given the promotion he believes he was denied “along with appropriate back pay” and interest.

In the settlement agreement the city agreed to pay Days $5,000 in exchange for dropping the claims, but denied any wrongdoing.

About two-thirds of $5,000 — $3,335 — went to Days, and the remaining $1,665 to McDonald.

As part of the agreement, the city also promised to recommend Days for promotion to the position of captain if and when the Police Department decides to create a captain’s position again.

The lawsuit notes that Days acknowledges that the city can only recommend that Days be promoted to captain and that the final decision would be up to the city’s Police and Fire Commission.

The Police Department hasn’t had a captain’s position for nearly seven years but the settlement agreement mentions a “proposed restructuring of the department” slated to take place “in or around early 2015.”

The city spent roughly $70,357 in attorney fees arguing the case between 2012 and 2015, City Attorney Scott Letteney reported Thursday.

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