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Suit says chief was pressed to pull over blacks

Associated Press / March 26, 2010

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ST. LOUIS — A lawsuit filed by the former police chief of the posh St. Louis suburb of Ladue claims he was pressured to pull over blacks and set ticket quotas for out-of-towners, but be lenient with the town’s residents, even those who drove drunk.

When he refused to go along, he was fired, Larry White said. His suit filed Monday in St. Louis County Circuit Court seeks unspecified damages. It names the city, Mayor Irene Holmes, and members of the City Council.

Holmes declined to comment. Her assistant, Mike Wooldridge, speaking on behalf of the city, said Ladue denies any wrongdoing and believes White’s firing was justified.

“We feel confident that we acted appropriately and in the city’s best interest,’’ Wooldridge said.

Ladue is among the wealthiest communities in the Midwest. The town of 8,500 residents 10 miles west of St. Louis had a median household income of $161,613 in 2008. About 96 percent of Ladue residents are white, and 1 percent are black.