A jury Thursday rejected a Los Angeles police captain’s claim that his career took a hit because he complained about Chief Charlie Beck’s alleged expectation that all officers sent to Board of Rights hearings for serious misconduct be fired.
A Los Angeles Superior Court jury deliberated for a little more than a day before finding in favor of the city in the retaliation lawsuit filed by Capt. Byford “Peter” Whittingham in April 2014.
“We’re pleased with the verdict and look forward to the parties working together in the future,” Assistant City Attorney Wayne Song said outside the courtroom.
The 61-year-old Whittingham said that despite the verdict, he believed it was worthwhile going through the process of filing a lawsuit. He said there is a “culture of retaliation and nepotism” within the LAPD that has caused many of its members to lose faith. He said the problems warrant examination by the Police Commission, the mayor and the City Council.
“The problem is not going away,” Whittingham said.
Whittingham maintained he received a delayed advancement from captain 1 in 2009 to captain 2 in 2014 for objecting to Beck’s alleged position on Board of Rights hearings and for complaining that race played a decision in the discipline of some minority officers.
On Board of Rights hearings, two captains sit with a civilian to weigh evidence about officers and make recommendations to Beck about any possible punishment.
Beck testified last week that officers should be recommended for firing only if the evidence supports such an action. The chief said Whittingham’s promotion came shortly after his lawsuit was filed, but that the case had nothing to do with the decision.
Deputy City Attorney Douglas Lyon told jurors that Whittingham has been promoted 10 times during his career since joining the department in 1988.
Whittingham is in charge of about 85 LAPD personnel in his current position as head of the Criminal Gang Homicide Division, located in the South Bureau, Lyon said.
— City News Service
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