Apparently For One City It’s Okay to Have An Openly Gay Mayor Just Not A Cop

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.

 

The Court of Public Opinion

  • CityEye

    Ask the Gay organizations in Los Angeles and they will all tell you that Chief McDonnell was at the forefront along with Chief Bratton on supporting gays. In fact the LBGT Chief forums have become a signature success story in helping gays who have issues with police or other public members have a place to receive the help they need.

  • jbatt90262

    So many of these issues develop due to inadequate or incompetent supervision. Cop culture demands suppression of self to conform to the group, supervisors and lead officers (formal and informal) are the catalyst. I’m sure the officer believed after seven years he had demonstrated he “belonged” , and felt comfortable about using his full self to perform his job. One Hispanic male sergeant came out years ago and had some negative experience afterward, but he some gained celebrity, positive press for the PD; the department has a deputy chief, a lieutenant, numerous detectives and patrol officers who can support each other if they have issues that arise from being lesbians in the department or within the cop culture. Coming out or being perceived as gay male seems like it is still a challenge to be overcome. I’m sure the other gay officers are watching.

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  • CityEye2

    Issues may or may not be with Chief McDonnell. I did not see him on any of the court documents though I have heard he did not do a thorough investigation or look into anything at all. In fact, I don’t believe McDonnell ever met this officer or cared to find out who he was and what was occurring. Its unfortunate that I have heard from many sources that the defendants in this case have lied. I hope they are charged with perjury. I suspect an internal affairs investigation will possibly be started at the end of this with the substantial claim of untruthfulness under penalty of perjury.