NEW HAVEN — Members of the “New Haven 20” will be promoted after a U.S. District Court judge ruled today that the city of New Haven violated the civil rights of the 19 white and one Hispanic firefighter when the city thew out fire officer tests in 2004 because too few African American firefighters passed.
Fourteen firefighters were ordered to be promoted. The city confirmed in a statement tonight that the promotions will be completed as soon as possible, WTNH-TV reported.
The case of Ricci vs DeStefano is case of so-called “reverse racism.” The lawsuit claimed that New Haven violated the rights of the plaintiffs when it threw out two promotional exams because blacks scored poorly. The city claimed, in its own defense, that it threw out the tests out of fear that discrimination lawsuits would arise from the black community. Instead, the 19 white firefighters and one Latino who would have been in line for promotions sued the city.
A judge had thrown out the case in 2006. The U.S. Court of Appeals dismissed the claim in 2008. But in June, the United States Supreme Court reversed the decision, leading to yesterday’s ruling.
That same judge, Janet Bond Arterton, signed the order granting the promotions after she was overruled by the nation’s highest court. (Click here to read the statement)
Firefighters Frank Ricci, Michael Blatchley, Greg Boivin, Michael Christoforo, Ryan Divito, Steven Durand, Christopher Parker and Mark Vendetto will be promoted to lieutenant.
Advancing to the rank of captain: Gary Carbone, William Gambardella, Brian Jooss, Matthew Marcarelli, Timothy Scanlon and Benjamin Vargas.