The attorney for a Black firefighter who was awarded by a jury $1,015,266.93 plus attorney’s fees in 2013 says that her client is formally offering to reduce his award by $500,000 in exchange for property to permanently establish a community center in South Los Angeles.
Nana Gyamfi, who represents Jabari Jumaane, a 29-year veteran of the Los Angeles City Fire Department who had been the victim of racial discrimination, retaliation, and a hostile workplace says that her client wants any settlement to not just serve his own personal justice but also serve as a foundation for restorative justice to the Black community.
In 1994, Jumaane founded the African Firefighters in Benevolence Association to provide advocacy and support to its membership and the Black community at large. Since 2000, the organization has operated out of the Old Fire Station No. 54 which is commonly referred to as the AFIBA Center where Los Angeles’ first Black fire chief Doug Barry served as a captain.
“Mr. Jumaane is under no obligation to make this offer,” said attorney Nana Gyamfi. “A jury has already awarded him this money but the judgment alone doesn’t secure the space and that’s what is really important to him. So essentially this would be a win win for all parties. The community will know that it has a permanent home in a city where Black space continues to disappear. The taxpayers will save half a million dollars that can be used for other city services and Mr. Jumaane receives some compensation for his damages. ”
The written formal offer will be submitted to the City Attorney’s office and City Council by the end of the day.
Oral arguments on the City’s appeal of the jury’s verdict are schedule for Wednesday, October 28 at 9 a.m. The City has filed three appeals related to this case.
After 16 days of deliberations and a 7 weeklong trial, a jury found that Jumaane had suffered racial discrimination, harassment, and retaliation.
Jumaane, who is Black, testified that his captain falsified performance evaluations under the direction of his then battalion chief which set him up to be subjected to serious discipline which included excessive and unreasonable reprimands and two suspensions.
The AFIBA Center is located at 5730 Crenshaw Boulevard.