A 60-year-old former Beverly Hills Police Department captain who maintained that he was discriminated against because of his age and Jewish religion said Monday he is settling his lawsuit against the city for $2.3 million, but added that he is not the only one on the department subjected to alleged disparate treatment.
Speaking at a news conference with his lawyer, Bradley Gage, outside the downtown Los Angeles County courthouse, former Capt. Mark Rosen also said he had high hopes when the city hired Police Chief Sandra Spagnoli in 2016, but that the remarks she allegedly made about Jews, Catholics and lesbians gave him pause.
“Needless to say, it was a complete disappointment,” Rosen said.
Rosen, who worked for five police chiefs during his BHPD career, alleged the discrimination was often subtle in nature, with remarks such as “you people” used to categorize the groups that he says suffered discrimination in the BHPD.
Rosen retired Friday as part of the settlement of his Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit, which had been scheduled to go to trial Monday. He said he leaves behind many colleagues who also have allegedly suffered discrimination against them, particularly those who are Jewish, Catholic or Latino.
Gage said he represents seven such employees and that another three have complaints pending before the state Department of Fair Housing and Employment. He said the City Council approved the settlement with Rosen and that a jury may well have awarded much more had the case gone to trial.
The city issued a statement Friday regarding the settlement.
“While the city of Beverly Hills continues to deny allegations in the Mark Rosen and other lawsuits, a decision was made by the city’s insurance company to settle the lawsuit brought by Captain Rosen,” the statement read. “The city of Beverly Hills has always upheld its unwavering commitment to maintaining a respectful work environment free from harassment, retaliation and discrimination and will continue to do so.”
But Gage said the city has taken “zero corrective action” despite the lawsuits and that the size of the settlement speaks for itself.
“The city would not have had to settle a case like this if there was not a problem,” the attorney said.
Rosen’s retirement is a loss to the BHPD because he was its most experienced captain, Gage said.
Spagnoli previously was the police chief for the cities of Benicia and San Leandro.