Judge Says FDNY Excluded Blacks

The FDNY for decades has discriminated against blacks in its hiring practices, a federal judge ruled yesterday.

"There has been one persistent stain on the Fire Department's record," Brooklyn federal judge Nicholas Garaufis wrote in his damning decision.

"When it comes to being a New York firefighter, blacks and other minorities face entry barriers that other applicants do not," he wrote.

The decision opens the city up to possible monetary damages for thousands of minority FDNY applicants who did not get hired, according to Darius Charney, a lawyer for the plaintiffs.

The decision grows out of a bias suit filed in May 2007 by the US Attorney's Office, the Vulcan Society -- which represents black firefighters -- and the Center for Constitution Rights.

Last July, the judge ruled that the exams used to screen applicants between 1999 and 2007 were slanted against blacks.

But yesterday's finding goes much further, accusing the FDNY of purposefully excluding blacks from its ranks.

Garaufis refused to hold liable Mayor Bloomberg and former Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta, who had been named in the suit.

But he accused them of having been "deliberately indifferent."

If the two sides can't reach an agreement, Garaufis can order a remedy.

A spokeswoman for the city's Law Department denied there was any discrimination, and said the city would continue to fight the case.

Republished with permission of The New York Post.

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