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[Job Discrimination\Policing]
This Lieutenant [Black & female] is often tasked by Hayden and others with the most challenging assignments in our Department...She has more investigative experience and administrative experience than the two Lieutenants promoted to Captain by Hayden and Edwards.
Photo: Facebook

Last June, St. Louis Capt. Ryan Cousins, above middle, was awarded $1.1 million in a racial discrimination lawsuit he filed against former St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson and the city.

Capt. Cousins--who was allegedly passed over for promotion in 2017, by lesser qualified Whites--said he got into trouble and was fired after he refused to cover up for White officers who he accused of engaging in an "illegal search." After his successful lawsuit, Cousins was reinstated on the force.

The following press statement below was released by the Ethical Society of Police who say highly qualified Black officers (including a Black female officer with 30 years of experience) are being passed over for promotion by less-qualified White officers.

The Ethical Society of Police (E.S.O.P.) isn’t asking for unearned promotions in the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department (SLMPD). However, we question some promotions by SLMPD Chief John Hayden and Public Safety Director Jimmie Edwards as cronyism, typical SLMPD politics and other biases.

E.S.O.P. members have clearly been some of the most qualified but overlooked candidates for the rank of command and upper command. Cronyism and other biases are still core issues in the City of St. Louis, and those issues continue under Hayden and Edwards.

The E.S.O.P. board endorsed Hayden. The board would vote the same today because officer corruption is the number one priority in SLMPD, and no other candidate for Chief in 2017 was qualified in that crucial area. However, Chief Hayden will not get a pass because of our endorsement.

Hayden and Edwards failed to promote the most qualified candidate to Major in 2017 and Captain in 2019. Both are members of E.S.O.P. and Black. The Black male candidate for the rank of Major had more investigative experience and patrol experience than the two candidates promoted to the rank of Major in 2017. This candidate later won a $1.1 million discrimination lawsuit against SLMPD. He was passed over a second time for promotion to Major in 2019.

Please note, one of two candidates Hayden promoted to Major in 2017 was his close friend.

Our most recent concern with Hayden and Edwards’ promotion decisions is for the rank of Captain. On November 14, 2019, a Black female Lieutenant with 30 years of experience, who also is a veteran and works within her community, volunteering countless hours of her own time, was not promoted.

No one in SLMPD has her internal resume and success.

This Lieutenant is often tasked by Hayden and others with the most challenging assignments in our Department, working in underserved communities and initiating tough conversations that many in upper and lower command refuse to have and address. She has more investigative experience and administrative experience than the two Lieutenants promoted to Captain by Hayden and Edwards. This Lieutenant has also successfully commanded Sex Crimes, Child Abuse & Domestic Violence Division, Park Rangers, Community Engagement and Recruitment, Housing Authority, Metro-Link, and worked in an undercover capacity.

There are currently ten (10) SLMPD Captains – three Black males, three white females, four white males – none are Black females. SLMPD has had three Black female Captains in its 211-year history. Black females make up 6% of SLMPD, with minimal growth to the rank of command and exponentially lower rates to the rank of Captain. Even when Black females are qualified or finish in the top tier for promotion to command or upper command, they’re often passed over for less qualified candidates. With the recent failure to promote the most qualified Lieutenant to Captain, Chief Hayden and Public Safety Director Edwards leave 79 current Black female Officers to believe they will never be recognized as equal in SLMPD.

We congratulate all recent candidates for promotion who earned their promotions, but we will not let the truth go unacknowledged.


The Ethical Society of Police (E.S.O.P.) is an association of police officers, park rangers, and civilians that advocates for racial and gender equity in the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department (SLMPD) and St. Louis County Police Department. The E.S.O.P. was founded in 1972 to address racial biases within law enforcement. The E.S.O.P. also works to improve community/police relations, develop policies and programs to reduce crime, elevate the status of minority civilians and police officers, encourage greater minority employment by law enforcement agencies, and increase professionalism in law enforcement. Membership is open to all races and includes nearly 300 law enforcement professionals employed by the City and County of St. Louis. For details, call (314) 690-3565, email or visit

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