Jury sides with 2 former East St. Louis officials in racial discrimination case

Jul 14, 2011

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East St. Louis is weighing whether to appeal a federal jury's verdict in favor of two former city officials who claimed they were fired because they spoke out about racial discrimination in the city's hiring process.

The Belleville News-Democrat reports that jurors in Benton deliberated about four hours before ruling Wednesday in favor of former police and fire commissioners Della Murphy and Wyatt Frazer.

Frazer and Murphy sought $10,000 each in punitive damages. But jurors awarded $15,000 apiece in punitive damages and $5,500 each in compensatory damages.

Murphy and Frazer claimed Mayor Alvin Parks didn't hire a former Illinois State Police deputy director and former Florida State Highway Patrol chief because that candidate is white.

Parks denied the allegations and says he's disappointed with the verdict.