PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – A veteran Providence police officer has filed suit against the city claiming he was not promoted because he is Chinese-American and was out on medical leave when he took the sergeant’s exam last year.
Eugene Chin, a patrolman who has been on the force since 2002, filed the lawsuit in federal court Wednesday. He is accusing the city of five counts of unlawful discrimination. The suit does not state how much compensation he is seeking.
Chin claims the discrimination started in November 2015 after he was involved in a motor vehicle accident whole responding to an “officer in need of assistance” call. A police review board found him to be at fault for the crash. He claims that when he returned from a two-month medical leave, his superiors refused to assign him an equal amount of overtime shifts.
In February 2016, Chin claims he injured his foot while pursuing a suspect. While he was out on medical leave, he took the sergeant’s promotional exam, earning the eighth-highest initial score, the suit states.
But his ranking dropped to 13th after additional points were awarded, including discretionary service points given by Police Chief. Col Hugh Clements. Chin claims he received only four additional service points while “similarly-situated Caucasian, non-disabled police officers” were awarded five points. The suit claims Clements relied on Police Commander Thomas Verdi to assign the discretionary points.
A spokesperson for Mayor Jorge Elorza said the city does not comment on ongoing litigation. Chin’s attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Chin returned from his medical leave in July 2016. City payroll records show he earns a base salary of $59,577.