A St. Louis police sergeant who won a racial discrimination case over a police academy promotion will be paid the $620,000 he won in a federal lawsuit, plus $172,000 in attorney’s fees.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that a federal appeals court has declined to reconsider the case, leaving the city no more chances to appeal.
Sgt. David Bonenberger, who’s white, filed the suit in 2012, saying he was passed over for assistant director. The suit alleged that then-director Lt. Michael Muxo told Bonenberger not to apply for the job because it was going to a black woman under the orders of Lt. Col. Reggie Harris, who’s also black.
Muxo and Harris were found to have conspired to commit discrimination, and an all-white jury in 2013 awarded Bonenberger $200,000 in actual damages against all of the defendants for intentional race discrimination and $420,000 in punitive damages. The punitive damages were $20,000 against then-Chief Dan Isom, $300,000 against Harris and $100,000 against Muxo.
Isom and Harris had since retired.
Lynette Petruska, Bonenberger’s attorney, said she believes the city will pay all the judgments.
Eight months after the verdict U.S. District Judge Catherine Perry ordered Muxo, Harris and Sam Dotson, the current police chief, to undergo at least one three-hour session of anti-discrimination training in 2014, 2015 and 2016.
Petruska and Bonenberger said they believe the department hasn’t done much to eradicate racial discrimination but instead have sent a message that those who speak up will be penalized.
City officials declined to comment.