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South Gate PD Discrimination Settlement

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  • South Gate PD Discrimination Settlement

    Nearly 20% of annual budget!

    South Gate pays out $19 million to settle discrimination suits
    October 6, 2009 | 5:00 pm (LA Times)

    The city of South Gate paid $19 million to settle lawsuits filed by a group of officers who said they faced racially motivated discrimination, harassment and retaliation in the aftermath of the ouster of a Latino police official in 2002, attorneys said today.

    Fifteen police officers filed suits against South Gate, a working-class city with an annual budget of about $100 million, alleging they were victims of racial slurs, subjected to false internal affairs investigations, unfairly disciplined and denied promotions.

    They said they were discriminated against because of their association with Rick Lopez, a previous acting police chief.

    The settlement finalized today includes four officers who won a $10.4-million jury verdict at the end of a 2007 trial, and former assistant chief Mark Van Holt, who was awarded $4.2 million in a retaliation suit against the city.

    Those verdicts were appealed by the city and settled for undisclosed amounts that are part of the $19 million, said Bradley Gage, the officers’ attorney.

    Some of the officers said they were blacklisted and harassed for testifying at the 2007 trial.

    According to the plaintiffs’ lawsuits, the alleged harassment stemmed from a political scandal that roiled the city beginning in 2001, when the City Council appointed Lopez, at the time police chief of Maywood, to head South Gate’s force.

    The appointment led to a recall of council members and the eventual ouster of Lopez and two deputies.

    The officers claimed they were threatened and harassed by the department’s leaders in a racially charged environment after the political upheaval.

    The jury in the 2007 trial rejected the argument that the officers were discriminated against because of their race but agreed that they were discriminated against because of Lopez’s race and national origin.

    At the time of the 2007 verdict, city representatives said the Police Department’s employment practices had since been revamped. Neither city officials nor attorneys representing the city returned requests for comment today.

    --Victoria Kim
    Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored. -- Aldous Huxley
    Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity. -- Albert Einstein

  • #2
    I know a few of those officers... damn, if that ain't justice, I don't know what is.
    Timelines:

    CBPO
    App: 2/12/09
    Geo: Revised; CA Long Beach, San Bernardino, L.A.
    Written: 2/20/09
    NOR: 3/2/09 (81 no vet pref.)
    TO: ? (reached my 37th bday 9/09)

    IEA
    App: 5/5/09
    Geo: San Diego
    Written: 6/5/09 (75.8 no vet pref.)
    NOR: 7/20/09
    Faxed Documents: 7/7/09
    TO: 10/6/09
    Mailed Documents: 10/16/09
    Oral Interview: 12/02/09 Passed

    BPA
    Geo: SW Border-El Centro/San Diego Area
    App: 8/17/10
    Written: 10/6 Passed (73 w/ no vet pref.)
    TO: 11/10/10 (pre emp forms due 11/22)

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by DCH View Post
      I know a few of those officers... damn, if that ain't justice, I don't know what is.
      The sad thing is that South Gate is not a wealthy city, and the people who will suffer are the residents, who bear little responsibility for the antics of the city manager and police chief.
      Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored. -- Aldous Huxley
      Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity. -- Albert Einstein

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by DAL View Post
        The sad thing is that South Gate is not a wealthy city, and the people who will suffer are the residents, who bear little responsibility for the antics of the city manager and police chief.
        Having lived only a "Stones throw" from South Gate when I was a kid ( "Actually a "safer" place to go back then), I feel its sad that the citizens of the City will have to pay for it also. "BUT" what do you do when folks in mgm't thumb their noses at "doing the right thing?" Sadly, just like there are rank and file who abuse the system, there are people in mgm't who think themselves ALL POWERFUL and abuse it also! Such was the case in South Gate and in the SGPD !

        One of my co-workers had a wife who was on probation with SGPD. She was the target of both sexual and verbal harassment on a daily basis ( a Sgt walked up to her patrol unit when she was by the gas pumps and showed her "the chicken wing"), was terminated from probation,and eventually SUCCESSFULLY sued as well as recieved compensation for a work related injury !

        SGPD always seemed to be a hard charging small town PD, sandwiched on three sides by working class Huntington Park to the north ,the raunchy and ghetto parts of L.A. on the east side( both county and city jurisdiction) and low end Lynwood on the south. But when you see a civie mgm't that treats its authority like they rule a peasant fiefdom, with uncaring practices,and vindictive attitudes to employees complaints, what are officers and employees to do?

        Can't just always "walk away" -Mgm't like that "Dirties" up your package when you try to leave( seen it here where I work- Officers that "don't fit" try and transfer somewhere else, BUT" somebody" in mgm't ,who could have solved the "issues" by letting them leave, would RATHER badmouth that employee to the dept they are going for, or find an excuse to slap a bogus "jam 'em up" I.A compaint on that officer).

        The end result? that employee can't leave, and now they are stuck, and things get worse until either the employee gets fired, or the Dept gets sued( usually BOTH occur)
        Last edited by DOAcop38; 10-08-2009, 06:28 PM.
        "we're americans ! We don't quit because we're wrong, we just keep doing it wrong UNTIL it turns out Right"...

        Comment


        • #5
          LASD will be taking over Southgate because they now cannot afford to pay for police services...

          Comment


          • #6
            Maybe the new chief will give me my old job back, or at least tell me why I was let go. (LOL)

            Comment


            • #7
              I think that some of the people running South Gate were convicted of public corruption and sent to prison. I wish that the city could recover the settlement money from them.
              Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored. -- Aldous Huxley
              Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity. -- Albert Einstein

              Comment

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