A judge ruled Monday that a former Baldwin Park Police Chief can take to trial her lawsuit alleging she was fired because of her gender.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael Stern ruled that a jury should decide whether Lili Hadsell was subjected to gender discrimination, gender harassment and retaliation.
Stern said he knows the case is “politically charged,” but that defense attorneys had not convinced him there were no triable issues.
Hadsell was hired by the city in 1999 and appointed police chief in 2008. Her suit states that after being named to the job, she became the victim of tokenism and was “paraded around as a prop to celebrate themselves for having a female police chief.”
Hadsell alleges she was undermined before her subordinates when City Councilman Ricardo Pacheco told them a woman could not handle the chief’s job.
She alleges Pacheco was also behind blog posts such as one that stated, “I believe the only police work Hadsell did was on her knees to get promoted through the ranks.”
Hadsell was fired on Dec. 10, 2013, and replaced with Capt. Michael Taylor. The complaint alleges Pacheco and Taylor “worked in concert to harass and discredit” Hadsell while she was chief.
Hadsell, 60, stated in a sworn declaration that prior to her appointment, she believed Taylor was the likely choice for chief given his longtime service with the department. She says Taylor was out of the country when Hadsell was named chief.
“The very same night I was appointed chief of police, I sent an email to Taylor telling him that I had been appointed and apologizing it had occurred while he was gone,” Hadsell says. “I reiterated that I hoped we would be able to work together as we had so well as captain and lieutenant. Taylor never responded to the email.”
When Taylor returned from his trip, he “wouldn’t speak to me, much less look at me,” Hadsell says. During the first months after her appointment, Hadsell says she “received a lot of attention from the community for being the first female Latina chief of police” in the city’s history.
Trial of Hadsell’s suit is scheduled for Sept. 6.
—City News Service
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