LOS ANGELES (CNS) - A judge today reinstated a lawsuit brought by a Compton Sheriff's Station deputy who alleges the department put his life in danger when he reported the activities of an alleged deputy gang known as the Executioners.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge William F. Fahey reversed the action he took Feb. 9 in tossing Austreberto “Art'' Gonzalez's lawsuit on procedural grounds. Gonzalez's attorney, Alan Romero, moved to have the case revived, saying Fahey's previous ruling had nothing to do with the substance of the case.
“The court struck our complaint and entered a dismissal because we filed an amended complaint while a demurrer was pending,'' Romero said previously.
Fahey did assess the plaintiff's side more than $5,600 in fees and costs to compensate lawyers representing the county for work done in reviewing and responding to the amended complaint, which was the third revision of the case.
According to the original suit Gonzalez filed Sept. 17, the decorated Marine Corps combat veteran called an anonymous tip line in February 2020 to report the “criminal activities of a deputy gang at Compton Station which existed to violate the rights of the public and other Sheriff's Department employees.''
The department turned over a recording of Gonzalez's call to the gang, placing the plaintiff in danger, and “took zero steps to curtail the deputy gang,'' according to the suit.
In March 2020, Gonzalez met with department investigators and again blew the whistle on the Executioners' activities, but once more nothing was done, the suit alleged.
Gonzalez later learned that the department had taken several affirmative steps to assist the alleged leader of the deputy gang, Jaime Juarez -- who had been previously banned from being on patrol due to his involvement in questionable shootings -- to be put back on patrol, according to his court papers.
In addition, Juarez, who had been transferred from the Compton Station due to his alleged gang activity and racketeering, was transferred back to the station by the department, which “created a culture of impunity and violence at the (Compton) Station which had been shaped and enabled by the department,'' the suit alleged.
An Executioners associate was promoted to watch deputy, a position for which Gonzalez had tested and deserved because of his seniority, according to the plaintiff, who alleged the position went to the other deputy because he was prohibited from carrying a firearm while on duty and the watch deputy job allowed him to still collect a salary without going out on patrol.
Fearing for his safety and aware of a violent attack by the gang on another station deputy, Gonzalez contacted an attorney to represent him in his disputes with the LASD, according to his lawsuit.
Gonzalez also alleged he suffered discrimination for arranging his work schedule and days off in order to provide medical care for his diabetic daughter.
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