June 2007 I first reported the settlement of a lawsuit against the city of Monrovia by officer Solarez for harassment and discrimination based on sexual orientation. Barely 6 months later officer Cobb brought a suit that settled for the same causes of action but this time based on race instead of sexual orientation. Pictured here are the two latest suits brought against the city by police officers for those same causes of action with a few more causes added for good measure.
For more details to satisfy your prurient urges you need to make the jump.
The first suit pictured here includes retaliation as a cause of action. The officer alleges because he gave testimony in the racial discrimination suit by another officer. He alleges because his testimony supported that officer’s allegations he in turn was harassed. He further alleges when he told the city it was going on they did not investigate and address his concerns.
The only comment from the city so far is that they have not seen this amended complaint.
The second suit was brought to the community’s attention by Robert Parry over at the Foothill Cities Blog in a pretty detailed post. (Don’t you like it when a blog breaks the news scooping the papers by a couple of days?)
Briefly the plaintiff in the matter alleges a lot of high drama. It started as a teen with promises of a future as a cop. Sexual seductions, forced meeting for sex and when reported to his bosses he alleges they did nothing.
The plaintiff alleges he told the city about the problems. The suit alleges that the city knew of the harassment and discrimination failed to correct.
This suit gets worse in its allegations. It alleges that the defendant has had a sexual affair with a known gang member in the area. The plaintiff alleges this gang member has been give special treatment because of his relationship with the defendant. He even claims that the defendant and gang member were found up in Fish Canyon, in a car in a compromising position and that both were given special favors that did included no arrest and a cover up by the city.
I use the term “alleged” not because I disbelieve what is plead in the suit, rather the facts have not been brought before a judge, jury or arbitrator to rule on its veracity of the allegations.
What is interesting is the claim of notice and failure to correct. I’m not an attorney and can only rely on my former claim experience. One flag I see is that it is hard to claim lack of notice when you have been sued twice before. Its even harder when a lot of the allegations were given to the City Management and Council 2 years prior in an a letter from the officers. That letter can be found on the Monrovia City Watch site.
Now two years after that letter and the arrival of this suit LA Sheriff is going to be brought in to investigate the allegations raised concerning the “Fish Canyon” incident.
Another concern in defending these suits is comments made by the city. With the first suit the city is quoted as saying settlement is a business decision.
The second suit, which centered on racial discrimination the city, explained their position on the suit as simply the cost of doing business.
Now we are faced with the new suits. Nothing has changed in the department according officers I have spoken with since they sent their letter of June 2006 to the City council. The one with allegations of sex with a minor rolled in the city PIO is quoted as saying the Fish Canyon incident was simply “mentoring” the gang member.
All very interesting. 4 different suits with common threads of harassment, discrimination and failure to address in just over one year filed by police officers. That is 4 suits in a city of 40,000. That is 4 suits in a department of approx 52 officers, down 14 officers from plan. All this from a department that tells the community there are morale problems and a city hall that says there is not.