(CBS) — A white police officer who has been passed over for chief of police in University Park is suing the village for racial discrimination, reports WBBM’s Nancy Harty.

Daniel Murphy has applied to be chief three times in the 23 years he has served in the University Park police force. In a lawsuit, the 47-year-old contends in each time, he lost out to a less qualified, less experienced African-American officer.

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His attorney Jon Hoeven says Murphy was denied because he is white.

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“The fact that he is working in a predominately African-American community with a predominantly African-American police force and an entirely African-American governing body, we think although it’s unique, the facts are there and there’s really no other explanation for his not being promoted than his race,” Hoeven said.

The lawsuit seeks back pay and $1.7 million in damages.

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A University Park spokeswoman says the village doesn’t comment on personnel issues.