We’re not against the police. We’re not against the police department, but we are against police who commit misconduct (and those who help to cover it up).
A former Long Beach Police Department officer is suing the city claiming that his life was put in danger and that he was wrongfully terminated in 2011 because he is gay and had reported misconduct by fellow officers.
According to the Long Beach Press Telegram’s Phillip Zonkel, Brent Record, an eight-year veteran with the police force, claims he reported the alleged harassment, discrimination and misconduct — including an officer filing a fraudulent time card, other officers not being available for calls and another officer using excessive force on a handcuffed suspect — to his superiors, but they failed to address or investigate it.
Record’s lawsuit says that his superiors and the department retaliated against him and fired him.
Record is the son of a 30+ year veteran of the Long Beach Police Department who I’m told plans on testifying against the department should this case go to a jury trial. I’ve also been told by various officers that Records was treated differently and that some officers have already come forward to substantiate the claim. Good for them.
Zonkel also says that Record said he was never disciplined during the first seven years of his career. The problems began after Scott Jenson and Gerardo Prieto became his sergeants in late 2009 and early 2010, according to the lawsuit.
Among the allegations in the lawsuit:
In May 2010, Record was the first to arrive at a domestic violence call and waited for backup. About a month later, Record was told by Jenson and Prieto that he failed to provide adequate assistance by not contacting the parties involved, even though department policy mandates that an officer should wait for backup on a domestic violence call since those calls can be some of the most dangerous.
In July 2010, Record reported that fellow officers who were on duty weren’t available for calls, and two months later Record was sent to a “priority one” domestic violence call, but no other units arrived to assist him. On several occasions, Record said, he found harassing flyers mocking his being gay in his work locker and mailbox.
We know all about how law enforcement likes to use lockers as a way to harass people. Seems to be a thing. But I digressed.
In January 2011, Record told Lt. Elizabeth Griffin that he had been targeted by Prieto and Jenson because he is gay and because he reported the officer misconduct, but Griffin ignored his requests for the complaints to be investigated and for a transfer to a different shift and told him to “just stick it out for six months.”
Depositions of defendants by plaintiff’s council are ongoing today through this week and the Long Beach Police Department is doing its best to keep all of this hush hush. Too late for that.
The jury trial for this case is scheduled for November 4.
For a city that’s always boasting about how gay friendly it is, I’d like to know what happened.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, it’s these types of shenanigans that help to maintain and grow the distrust of the public as it relates to law enforcement.