Erla getting hit with two more lawsuits over police promotions scandal

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Erla getting hit with two more lawsuits over police promotions scandal

On the heels of a slew of lawsuits over the promotions of police officers, Police Commissioner Erla Harewood-Christopher has now been hit with two additional suits.

Two officers have been granted permission by the court to pursue their judicial review claim in which they seek to have the commissioner release the scores of all officers on the order of merit list, which led to hundreds of constables being promoted in September 2023.

Constables David Hall and Mervyn Murray, were granted leave by Justice Jacqueline Wilson on February 5th.

The officers say the release of the scores used to generate the merit list is important to preserve the integrity of the recent promotion process.

Approximately 100 police officers have threatened similar legal action over the recent promotion exercise while others have approached the courts at various stages to get their scores.

The officers’ grouse stem from two merit lists containing the names of 2,342 constables. Some 861 were promoted in September. There are 1,200 available spots for the rank of corporal.

After the September 2023 promotions, aggrieved officers raised their concerns and it was disclosed there was a “glitch” in producing that merit list. A new comparative merit list was then generated.

Hall and Murray are represented by attorneys Keron Ramkhalwhan, Shalini Sankar and Annesia Gunnes.

In his application, Hall said he was placed at 1,736 on the earlier list. He said he received information about errors on that list, so he sought to get the individual scores of each officer on the list and his own.

He was refused the latter. Hall was told his request was “unreasonable” and involved sensitive and personal information of others.

However, he insists there is nothing unreasonable about his request, especially since a large number of police officers have disputed the integrity of the list.

In his lawsuit, Hall says before 2012, merit lists were disclosed and that was stopped for no reason.

“The disclosure would alleviate public concerns over police competency and allow for better scrutiny, especially in these times of high crime rates…The public relies on the police for safety and protection and ought to know that the police are able and qualified to protect and serve,” he added.

Murray’s lawsuit reiterates the same contention and adds that by disclosing the individual scores, any suspicion of favouritism in promotion would be removed.

Both matters have been fixed for a virtual hearing on April 8.