A black Los Angeles police officer was awarded $1.2 million by a jury this week in a suit alleging racial discrimination and harassment against the city and department.
Officer Earl Wright, a 23-year veteran on the force, said he faced discrimination and harassment at the department dating back to 2009, but that the department didn’t take complaints seriously, which caused him to be hospitalized and miss seven months of work because of stress and anxiety.
Alleged instances of discrimination include those from high-ranking officers. In November 2009, Sgt. Peter Foster, a white officer, called Wright back from the field to present him with a cake for his 20-year anniversary with the department. The cake was topped with a fried chicken leg and a slice of watermelon. In September 2009, photos of Wright and his partner’s faces were superimposed on a “Sanford and Son” poster that was plastered around the department and called a family portrait.
The Los Angeles Superior Court jury deliberated less than four hours before announcing its verdict following Wright’s four day trial. In Wright’s case, the jury awarded $600,000 for past economic damages and $600,000 for future damages, Smith said.
The case is the latest in a series of big figure settlements and jury awards in cases brought by LAPD officers against the department. Last week, City Council approved a $1.25 million payout to a current and a former officer who said their supervisor repeatedly harassed them because they are lesbians.
If you have been the victim of workplace discrimination based on your race, sex, or gender and fearful of speaking out because of employer retaliation, Don Ho Law can fight for you!
Published by DonHo Law. Don Ho is a criminal defense and employment law attorney in Orange County, California.