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Archive for Wednesday, January 5, 2011

NAACP seeks federal investigation into hiring practices in Nickerson, Kan.

January 5, 2011

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— The Kansas chapter of the NAACP is seeking a federal investigation into the hiring practices in Nickerson, alleging that a former police chief was asked not to hire a qualified police officer because is black.

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People sent a formal complaint seeking the investigation of the Nickerson City Council and the town’s mayor to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, The Hutchinson News reported Tuesday.

Nickerson Police Chief April Addis resigned in November after the city council reprimanded her for hiring John Bremby, an 18-year police veteran from Wichita. She said she was told to contact Bremby and tell him the hiring had been rescinded.

Nickerson Mayor Bill Golding and other council members said the issue had nothing to do with the officer’s race. Golding said Addis had been told before the officer was hired that council members wanted to be more involved in the police department’s interviewing and hiring practices but Addis ignored that request.

Addis said she hired three white officers without any objections from city officials but the council overruled her when she hired Bremby.

Darrell Pope, president of the Hutchinson chapter of the NAACP, called the city’s hiring practices a “blatant violation of civil rights.” And he claimed that except for one meeting several weeks ago with Nickerson City Attorney Stanley Juhnke, Nickerson leaders had ignored the group’s efforts to meet with them.

“You expect to get some reasonable level of response,” he said. “When someone is just blowing you off or ignoring you, you have a tendency to go to places where you think you can get responses, like a federal agency.”

Golding said city officials were not ignoring the NAACP, but had decided to let Juhnke handle the matter. And he said the accusations were baseless.

“I don’t think it’s a legitimate complaint,” he said. “It goes to show you what happens when somebody gets a little disgruntled.”

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