A judge in New York believes an African-American NYPD candidate showed enough of an argument that he was removed from the class due to biased psychological screening.
Judge Nina Gershon ruled Barry Brown’s lawsuit can move forward and that he can continue fighting his discrimination case for now.
Brown, a 44-year-old Marine with an honorable discharge was looking to become a deputy sheriff with the Department of Finance.
He was accepted into the sheriff’s academy after passing written and physical exams, but hit a roadblock with the psychological review, which was run through an NYPD unit.
“The whole process was very strange,” Brown told The New York Daily News Friday.
The Daily News reports a psychologist said Brown had problems with coping, stress and interpersonal skills and that there was significant evidence Brown wasn’t psychologically suited for the job.
Brown and Judge Gershon may be right to think discrimination played a role in his dismissal from the academy — the day before graduation.
He was one of five black candidates in his academy class, along with seven white candidates, two Hispanic candidates and one Asian American candidate.
Like Brown, the other four black candidates were deemed psychologically unsuited and didn’t make it through the class.
Brown argues the psychologist focused too much on a less than amicable divorce he had just undergone and that too little attention was paid to his achievements and his military service.
Brown, a machine gunner while in the Marine reserves, said he’s not a quitter. He tells the Daily News, “Marines don’t quit, especially when we know we’re justified in what we’re doing.”
Four of the dismissed black candidates found law enforcement jobs elsewhere —one as a New Jersey state trooper — said Brown’s lawyer Eric Sanders.
The attorney also represents two other black members of Browns class.
When Brown sued in 2016, he said the psychological screening process was open to implicit bias and subjective calls from individual psychologists. He said the city didn’t do the testing in any standardized way.
“Nobody was a perfect candidate. There were people with worse circumstances than me,” he told The Daily News.
When Brown was terminated in 2013, he hired his own doctor who said Brown could handle the job. But the city stuck to its story that Brown wasn’t deputy sheriff material.
In her decision Thursday, Gershon said Brown makes a plausible argument he was qualified for the job.
Brown tells The Daily News he hopes his case will prevent similar experiences for others down the road.
“I feel my integrity was tarnished and I want to be vindicated,” he said.
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