Feds accuse county of racial bias in hiring police officers

TOWSON, Md. (AP) — A Justice Department lawsuit accuses a Maryland county of discriminating against black applicants for police officer positions.

The department’s civil rights division filed the federal lawsuit Tuesday against Baltimore County. It claims the county’s use of written examinations led to hiring fewer blacks as entry-level police officers and police cadets than it would have had it used a “non-discriminatory screening device.”

The Justice Department says black applicants have passed the exams at a lower rate than white applicants. It claims using the exams as a pass/fail screening device is not “job related” or consistent with “business necessity.”

County Executive Johnny Olszewski Jr. said in a statement that it has stopped using the test in question. He also said he is committed to increasing diversity in the police department.

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