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DURKIN v. CITY OF CHICAGO
April 26, 2002
KATHY DURKIN, PLAINTIFF,
CITY OF CHICAGO, DEFENDANT.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Elaine E. Bucklo, United States District Judge:
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Kathy Durkin sues the City of Chicago for equal protection violations
under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, as well as sexual harassment,
discrimination, and retaliation under Title VII, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et
seq. The City moves for summary judgment, which I grant.
In 1999, Kathy Durkin entered the Chicago Police Academy ("the
Academy") as a probationary police officer ("PPO"). She was a successful
recruit in all areas of her training except for firearms training.
Chicago Police Department ("CPD") recruits were required to pass a
"Mandatory Firearms Training for Peace Officers," prescribed by the
Illinois Police Training Act, with a score of 70 percent or above.
Although there was no written policy limiting the number of attempts,
Assistant Deputy Superintendent Charles Roberts, who ran the Academy, had
established and enforced a policy of allowing recruits only four attempts
to qualify, and Durkin signed an acknowledgment that she would receive
only four attempts to qualify.
Durkin had an acrimonious relationship with two of her firearms
instructors. Officer Nick Pappas swore at her and yelled obscenities at
her, and before her first attempt to qualify, Pappas kicked Durkin to
correct her stance while she was holding a loaded gun. Durkin admits that
she had difficulty with shooting, but she says it is because she received
inadequate instruction and because she was harassed. For example, the
first time she fired a shotgun, her instructor refused to tell her how to
hold it, so she was knocked over and badly bruised because she held the
After her third failure, Durkin was assigned to twenty hours of
one-on-one remedial training with Officer James Peck. During her
training, Peck refused to give any verbal instruction to Durkin, and
often made her stand, sometimes for as along as forty minutes, in a
two-by-two foot square taped on the floor at the shooting range office.
Although the box was a training tool, where recruits were supposed to
stand and wait for recognition by a superior officer, Durkin says that
Peck used it as a "bad girl" box and made her stand there as punishment,
and would yell "Did you move, Durkin? Did you fucking move?"
Peck swore frequently at Durkin, who testified that she was
unaccustomed to coarse language. Peck referred to women as "broads,"
"fucking broads," and "cunts" in her presence, and asked her once "who
did you fuck to get that [college] degree?" He told her she had a tiny
brain, and when she finally shot a passing score in a practice round, he
said that he "could teach a fucking monkey to shoot." When Durkin told
her husband, Patrick Durkin, who was also a CPD officer, that she was
unhappy with the scheduling of her training, he dropped by the firing
range to talk to Peck. Peck said to him, "You have a real blond on your
hands. Is she that stupid at home?" At their next training session, Peck
told Durkin that she had "pulled out her witch bag" and said "so I hear
you told your husband that you're not going to fuck him unless he came
down here and talked to me." After her father died, Peck said that "his
fucking father died too, get over it" and told her to "move on."
Unfortunately, the unpleasantries did not end on the firing range.
During driving training, one of her classmates, PPO Dolan,
penis to her while urinating, and said "suck this." The next day, she
reported the incident to a female sergeant, and told Dolan that she had
reported him. A few days later, Dolan said, in front of their CPR class,
that he wanted to have sex with her. That same day, PPO Lopez, her class
group leader, who had some supervisory responsibility, announced to their
class that Durkin had sex with her husband over her lunch break. Lopez
also said that he wanted to "fuck her" [Durkin] and "lick her all over."
Also on the same day, other classmates commented, in front of peers and
supervisors, that Durkin looked pregnant, and might as well leave the
Durkin said that she "complained to virtually anyone who would listen,"
including her classmates, her homeroom instructor, Lieutenant Samuel
Christian, Assistant Deputy Superintendent Roberts, and Deputy
Superintendent Jeanne Clark. Her husband wrote a letter to Superintendent
of Police Terry Hillard. Most of her complaints, however, dealt with
general harassment and poor teaching methods.
When Durkin made her fourth attempt to pass the firearms
qualification, on September 7, 1999, she requested permission from Lt.
Christian, the Commanding Officer for Recruit Training, to fire a
practice round. Lt. Christian denied the request for a practice round, and
Durkin shot a passing score of 72 percent. Christian then told her that
it was only a practice round and did not count. He made her shoot again
to qualify. She only scored 66 percent, so she failed to qualify on her
fourth try. She testified that, before she shot the first round, she and
Christian argued back and forth about whether she was going to have a
Assistant Deputy Superintendent Roberts recommended terminating Durkin
for failure to qualify in four attempts. On September 9, 1999, Durkin met
with Deputy Superintendent Clark, and she complained about her training
with Peck. She also told Clark about two of Peck's more egregious
comments, and Clark filed a complaint register, which was forwarded to
the Internal Affairs Division of the CPD. Instead of firing Durkin, Clark
offered her forty more hours of off-site training in Mattoon, Illinois,
and told her that if she passed in Mattoon, she would be "done." She
passed twice in Mattoon, and received a State of Illinois certificate of
completion for forty hours of firearms training, but Lt. Christian
refused to accept the scores and made her retake the test, with no
advance notice, at the Academy in Chicago. When she took the test again,
she failed, and was ultimately discharged. She sues the City for sexual
harassment, discrimination, and retaliation under Title VII and for equal
protection violations under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
Summary judgment is proper when the record "show[s] that there is no
genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is
entitled to a judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c). In
determining whether a genuine issue of material fact exists, I must
construe all facts in the light most favorable to the non-moving party
and draw all reasonable and justifiable inferences in her favor. Anderson
v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255 (1986). "Where the record taken
as a whole could not lead a rational trier of fact to find ...