Chicago Police, CPD, Mohammad Yusuf, Black

Chicago Police Officer Sues City In Fight To Officially Change Race To Match Identity

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A member of the Chicago Police Department has filed a lawsuit against the city to officially change his race on record following the department’s decision to allow officers to change their gender.

In a federal civil rights lawsuit filed in February 2024, Mohammad Yusuf claims CPD isn’t allowing him to change his race from “Caucasian” to “Egyptian and African American,” which he currently identifies as. 

When the officer joined the force in 2004, he remembers choosing “Caucasian” as his race on his official record. Back then, there were only three options, including Black and Hispanic, but now, the department offers “over nine” different racial backgrounds for incoming officers. However, the suit lists a “blanket prohibition” against changing an officer’s race. 

Following numerous rejections, Yusuf claims he was told he would have to produce a DNA test to have his race changed, prompting him to provide results of a “23 and Me” genetic test, showing his heritage and ethnicity. Yet still, the department decided it was “not possible” to change his official record.

After the department allowed an officer’s “gender identity to be corrected to match their lived experience,” the lawsuit alleges that not permitting Yusuf to do the same has impacted his professional advancement. 

The 43-year-old man claims he was often overlooked for promotions due to his “Caucasian” race. He alleges other minority applicants received the promotions and only a few Caucasian applicants. Serving on the force for 20 years, the veteran points out in the suit that CPD’s promotion system benefits “minority candidates” regardless of their scores on promotional exams.

Yusuf claimed he “scored in the first promotional tier” on the sergeant’s exam but was never promoted and still hadn’t moved up the ranks. 

In his complaint, he accuses the department of issuing “over 75 merit promotions to sergeant,” with a little under five going to white candidates.

“Despite Yusuf’s exemplary qualifications and the purported race-neutral policy of the merit system, Yusuf has been repeatedly bypassed for promotion in favor of less qualified candidates, based on their race, specifically African-American officers, some of whom had disciplinary issues and were not suitable for the responsibilities of a sergeant,” he said. 

The lawsuit also accuses the city of violating Title V of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

“The Racial Identity Policy Ban facially and intentionally discriminates against certain individuals based on personally identifiable characteristics like race.”