State Trooper settles discrimination claim against former Delaware governor

Master Corporal Timothy Shockley sued then-Governor Ruth Ann Minner in 2006, claiming he was passed over for a promotion in favor of an underqualified female officer.

Shockley was trying to become the head of the Governor’s Executive Protection Unit and gain a promotion to sergeant, when he says he was passed over because Minner was under political pressure to promote more minority officers.

Minner expressed her innocence when the lawsuit was filed back in 2006, issuing a statement through the Governor’s office, “We do deny all allegations of discrimination in this claim, and we look forward to vigorously defending this matter.”  Minner’s defense team unsuccessfully tried to have the lawsuit dismissed in 2008 and 2009.  A third appeal to have the case tossed in 2010 ended with a ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit that denied the attempt to dismiss and set a trial date for December 2012.

As part of the settlement, Shockley will receive $90,000 to restore lost wages and pension benefits.  Shockley will once again try to pass the sergeant’s test, says his attorney Stephen Neuberger.  “Tim earned his promotion the first time only to be thwarted by political meddling, but with this new day dawning he is now ready to earn it again.”  

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In 2004, a federal jury found State Police leaders guilty of reverse discrimination for halting the promotions of two troopers until more minority candidates could be promoted.  The jury found that the system exclusively reserved certain promotions for minority groups and that two police corporals were denied promotions because they were white.  The jury awarded the two men $350,000 in lost wages and other damages.

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