City officials said this week they will continue a freeze on police promotions to the rank of sergeant until a civil suit filed by five black Cambridge police officers is heard in federal court later this month.
City Solicitor Edward D. McCarthy and Beryl W. Cohen, attorney for the black officers, had agreed in early August to freeze promotions pending a court hearing in late September. But this week the special three-judge panel of the First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals handling the case announced it probably would meet during the week of October 23.
The five black patrolmen filed a class action suit on July 21 against city officials and officials of the State Civil Service Division, claiming the blacks were being denied promotions "due to the racial practices and policies of the defendants." The blacks seek a court order to have all eligible black patrolmen promoted to sergeant and to force the city to implement a "affirmative action" plan for police recruitment and promotion.