Police captain gets $2.3M settlement against Beverly Hills
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) — The city of Beverly Hills will pay $2.3 million to settle a lawsuit brought by a former high-ranking police officer who accused the police chief of harassment and workplace misconduct.
The settlement ends a yearslong battle between Chief Sandra Spagnoli and Capt. Mark Rosen, who had accused her of denying him promotional opportunities based on his religion, the Los Angeles Times reported Monday.
Rosen, who is Jewish, retired immediately after the suit was settled on Friday, according to a statement from the city.
Spagnoli, who was hired as the city’s first female police chief in 2016 after heading the police department in San Leandro, has been the target of at least 20 civil suits or employment complaints of racial and sexual discrimination during her tenure, according to court records reviewed by the Times.
She has repeatedly denied the allegations, and told the newspaper that the suits might stem from employees upset with her efforts to change the agency.
“I’m disappointed at some of the personal attacks against me, particularly because I can tell you I love this community. I love being a key factor in public safety and making a difference,” Spagnoli said. “It hasn’t been easy running the department while under fire from different directions.”
Beverly Hills spokesman Keith Sterling said the decision to settle Rosen’s lawsuit was made by the city’s insurance company. He did not elaborate.
Rosen was the highest-ranking Jewish employee in the department, according to his complaint. He alleged that Spagnoli effectively demoted him during a restructuring of the department’s command staff and said the decision was made based on his religious beliefs. Rosen, who has also accused Spagnoli of making off-color remarks about yarmulkes worn by observant Jews, said that while he was happy with the settlement he was also concerned about the police department’s future.
“I am concerned for my co-workers I am leaving behind, the officers and civilians alike who continue to be victimized,” he said.
The city’s human resources director confirmed at least 20 additional complaints have been made against Spagnoli since she was hired, according to a deposition reviewed by the Times. At least 10 have made allegations in civil suits, while the others are contained in fair employment complaints or notices of intent to sue.
Court documents show a number of other officers or civilian police employees have accused Spagnoli of making remarks disparaging their ethnicity or sexual orientation.
Information from: Los Angeles Times, http://www.latimes.com/