The defendant City now brings a motion to dismiss the claims against it. The City first argues that the plaintiff’s complaint should be dismissed for failure to allege the deprivation of a constitutional right. Though the complaint alleges that the actions of the defendants deprived the plaintiff Tracey Thurman of her constitutional right to equal protection of the laws, the defendant City argues that the equal protection clause of the fourteenth amendment “does not guarantee equal application of social services.” Defendant’s Memorandum at 4. Rather, the defendant City argues that the equal protection clause “only prohibits intentional discrimination that is racially motivated” citingArlington Heights v. Metropolitan Housing Dev. Corp., 429 U.S. 252, 97 S.Ct. 555, 50 L.Ed.2d 450 (1979) and Washington v. Davis, 426 U.S. 229, 96 S.Ct. 2040, 48 L.Ed.2d 547 (1976).
The defendant City’s argument is clearly a misstatement of the law. The application of the equal protection clause is not limited to racial classifications or racially motivated discrimination. The equal protection clause will be applied to invalidate state laws which classify on the basis of alienage for the purpose of the distribution of economic benefits unless that law is necessary to promote a compelling or overriding state interest. Graham v. Richardson, 403 U.S. 365, 91 S.Ct. 1848, 29 L.Ed.2d 534 (1971); In re Griffiths, 413 U.S. 717, 93 S.Ct. 2851, 37 L.Ed.2d 910 (1973). The equal protection clause will be applied to strike down classifications based on legitimacy at birth if they are not related to a legitimate state interest. Pickett v. Brown, 462 U.S. 1, 103 S.Ct. 2199, 76 L.Ed.2d 372 (1983); Mills v. Habluetzel, 456 U.S. 91, 97-99, 102 S.Ct. 1549, 1553-1554, 71 L.Ed.2d 770 (1982). Classifications on the basis of gender will be held invalid under the equal protection clause unless they are substantially related to an important governmental objective, Craig v. Boren, 429 U.S. 190, 197, 97 S.Ct. 451, 456, 50 L.Ed.2d 397 (1976),reh’g denied, 429 U.S. 1124, 97 S.Ct. 1161, 51 L.Ed.2d 574 (1977). And lastly, the equal protection clause will be applied to strike down classifications which are not rationally related to a legitimate governmental purpose. San Antonio School Dist. v. Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 1, 55, 93 S.Ct. 1278, 1308, 36 L.Ed.2d 16, reh’g denied, 411 U.S. 959, 93 S.Ct. 1919, 36 L.Ed.2d 418 (1973).
In the instant case, the plaintiffs allege that the defendants use an administrative classification that manifests itself in discriminatory treatment violative of the equal protection clause. Police protection in the City of Torrington, they argue, is
fully provided to persons abused by someone with whom the victim has no domestic relationship. But the Torrington police have consistently afforded lesser protection, plaintiffs allege, when the victim is (1) a woman abused or assaulted by a spouse or boyfriend, or (2) a child abused by a father or stepfather. The issue to be decided, then, is whether the plaintiffs have properly alleged a violation of the equal protection clause of the fourteenth amendment.
Police action is subject to the equal protection clause and section 1983 whether in the form of commission of violative acts or omission to perform required acts pursuant to the police officer’s duty to protect. Smith v. Ross, 482 F.2d 33, 36-37 (6th Cir.1973) (“law enforcement officer can be liable under § 1983 when by his inaction he fails to perform a statutorily imposed duty to enforce the laws equally and fairly, and thereby denies equal protection.”); Byrd v. Brishke, 466 F.2d 6, 11 (7th Cir.1972) (police officer liable under section 1983 for failing to prevent beating of plaintiff by other officers); Azar v. Conley, 456 F.2d 1382, 1387 (6th Cir.1972). See also Cooper v. Molko, 512 F.Supp. 563, 567 (N.D.Cal.1981), and Huey v. Barloga, 277 F.Supp. 864, 872-73 (N.D.Ill.1967) (failure of city officials and police officers to perform their duty of taking reasonable measures to protect personal safety of persons whom they know may be attacked is a denial of equal protection of the laws and is actionable under section 1983). City officials and police officers are under an affirmative duty to preserve law and order, and to protect the personal safety of persons in the community. Id. at 872. This duty applies equally to women whose personal safety is threatened by individuals with whom they have or have had a domestic relationship as well as to all other persons whose personal safety is threatened, including women not involved in domestic relationships. If officials have notice of the possibility of attacks on women in domestic relationships or other persons, they are under an affirmative duty to take reasonable measures to protect the personal safety of such persons in the community. Failure to perform this duty would constitute a denial of equal protection of the laws.
Although the plaintiffs point to no law which on its face discriminates against victims abused by someone with whom they have a domestic relationship, the plaintiffs have alleged that there is an administrative classification used to implement the law in a discriminatory fashion. It is well settled that the equal protection clause is applicable not only to discriminatory legislative action, but also to discriminatory governmental action in administration and enforcement of the law. See Yick Wo v. Hopkins, 118 U.S. 356, 6 S.Ct. 1064, 30 L.Ed. 220 (1886); Britton v. Rogers, 631 F.2d 572, 577 (8th Cir.1980), cert. denied, 451 U.S. 939, 101 S.Ct. 2021, 68 L.Ed.2d 327 (1981); and Flipside, Hoffman Estates, Inc. v. Village of Hoffman Estates, 485 F.Supp. 400, 409 (1980) (administrative classifications can give rise to an equal protection claim), order rev’d on other grounds,639 F.2d 373 (7th Cir.1981), judgment rev’d on other grounds, 455 U.S. 489, 102 S.Ct. 1186, 71 L.Ed.2d 362, reh’g denied, 456 U.S. 950, 102 S.Ct. 2023, 72 L.Ed.2d 476 (1982). Here the plaintiffs were threatened with assault in violation of Connecticut law. Over the course of eight months the police failed to afford the plaintiffs protection against such assaults, and failed to take action to arrest the perpetrator of these assaults. The plaintiffs have alleged that this failure to act was pursuant to a pattern or practice of affording inadequate protection, or no protection at all, to women who have complained of having been abused by their husbands or others with whom they have had close relations. Amended Complaint, ¶ 13. Such a practice is tantamount to an administrative classification used to implement the law in a discriminatory fashion.
If the City wishes to discriminate against women who are the victims of domestic violence, it must articulate an important governmental interest for doing so. Craig v. Boren, 429 U.S. 190, 197, 97 S.Ct. 451, 456, 50 L.Ed.2d 397 (1976), reh’g denied,
429 U.S. 1124, 97 S.Ct. 1161, 51 L.Ed.2d 574 (1977); Reed v. Reed, 404 U.S. 71, 92 S.Ct. 251, 30 L.Ed.2d 225 (1971). In its memorandum and at oral argument the City has failed to put forward any justification for its disparate treatment of women
Concommitantly, a police officer may not knowingly refrain from interference in such violence, and may not “automatically decline to make an arrest simply because the assaulter and his victim are married to each other.” Bruno v. Codd, 90 Misc.2d 1047, 1049, 396 N.Y.S.2d 974, 976 (1976), rev’d on other grounds, 64 App.Div.2d 502, 407 N.Y.S.2d 165 (1978), aff’d, 47 N.Y.2d 582, 419 N.Y.S.2d 901, 393 N.E.2d 976 (1979). Such inaction on the part of the officer is a denial of the equal protection of the laws.