Former Police Officers Win Round in Suit Alleging Latino Favoritism

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LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Four former Baldwin Park Police Department officers who sued the city alleging they were subjected to disparate treatment because they are either white or “not Hispanic enough'' won a round in court today when a judge agreed to look at the personnel records of two Latino supervisors.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Robert Draper's ruling is the first of a two-step procedure the plaintiffs need to obtain disclosure of the records of acting Lt. George Huerta and Sgt. Frank Real. Draper will examine the records in chambers on Nov. 9 for possible past complaints of racial discrimination and harassment.

Lawyers for the city argued in their court papers that the information sought by the plaintiffs was overbroad and irrelevant to their claims.

Jason Adams, who is white, and three Latinos -- James Gallegos and two men identified only as AA Doe and AR Doe -- brought the lawsuit on Feb. 25, alleging discrimination, harassment, retaliation and failure to take corrective action. The Doe plaintiffs worked undercover for the department, the suit states.

“The plaintiffs were denied promotional opportunities because they were Caucasian and not Latino, or they were Latinos, but deemed ‘not Hispanic enough' and were too closely associated with non-Hispanic Caucasians,'' the suit states.

Real and Huerta used their positions of power to “terrorize, harass and discriminate against Caucasian officers and those Latino Officers who did not subscribe to their racist views,'' the plaintiffs allege in their court papers.

Huerta was disciplined in part because of the way he treated the plaintiffs and other officers currently suing the police department, according to the plaintiffs' court papers.

Multiple investigations against Real include allegations of racist remarks and making defamatory statements, the plaintiffs' court papers state.

The city was run like a “fiefdom'' under former Mayor Manny Lozano and his two “henchmen'' were Huerta and Real, the plaintiffs' court papers state.

For many years, Lozano demanded that department heads follow his alleged recommendations for promotions so that Latino police officers would be promoted, whether or not they were the best qualified, the suit states.

“Mayor Lozano has not been bashful about how he views Caucasians, creating a hostile environment for all employees,'' the suit states.

Lozano, who was defeated in a bid for an 11th term in November by 26-year-old Emmanuel Estrada, also disparaged some Latinos who he considered “too white'' or “not Mexican enough,'' the suit states.

All of the plaintiffs have transferred to other agencies and are making less money, their court papers state.

Copyright 2021, City News Service, Inc.

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