Tracie Hunte, Assistant Producer, WNYC News
Tracie Hunte is an Assistant Producer in the WNYC Newsroom.
A federal appeals court said a Brooklyn judge rushed to judgment in deciding that the FDNY had intentionally discriminated against black and Latino applicants.
The Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued its ruling Tuesday. The case has been remanded back to a lower court.
While Brooklyn Federal Court Judge Nicholas Garaufis will continue to oversee court-ordered oversight of the FDNY's hiring practices, a different judge will rule on the plaintiff's claim of intentional discrimination.
Baher Azmy, the legal director of the Center for Constitutional Rights, which represents the Vulcan Society, the black firefighters' group suing the city, said the “bulk” of the lower court’s ruling will stay in place.
“The court wants to eliminate any potential even appearance of partiality and start fresh with a new judge, which is fine with us," Azmy said. "The evidence is the evidence.”
The court also modified some of the policies that had been demanded by Judge Garafuis, including shortening the independent monitoring period from 10 years to five years and removing the requirement that the fire department hire consultants to oversee and review different aspects of the agency.
“This is a major victory for the City," said Corporation Counsel Michael A. Cardozo. "We are extremely pleased that the Second Circuit recognized significant problems in the manner in which the District Court handled the case."
With the Associated Press