A Long Beach police officer who alleges management retaliated against him in 2015 when he protested that a recruit was being given preferential treatment because he did not want to train in an unsafe area is entitled to more than $3 million in damages, his attorney told a jury Wednesday.
Lawyer Gregory W. Smith said Officer Lawrence Alexander’s 28-year career has been diminished and his life left meaningless since he was removed from a higher-paying job of field training officer and returned to patrol duty.
“He didn’t think he would end his career riding in patrol cars going to calls,” Smith said.
Deputy Long Beach City Attorney Nicholas Masero said the case boils down to different people having dissimilar recollections of the events leading up to Alexander suing the department in Los Angeles Superior Court in April 2016.
Masero said no other witnesses gave testimony to support Alexander’s claim that the treatment of the recruit violated the Commission Peace Officer Standards and Training, which was established by the Legislature in 1959 to set minimum selection and training standards for California law enforcement officers.
Alexander, 48, was a field training officer coordinator responsible for ensuring that the Long Beach Police Department complied with POST standards. According to his lawsuit, a recruit reported for his first day of duty with the department in November 2015, then called a sergeant the next day saying he was too afraid to work in a high-crime area and preferred to resign.
A deputy chief directed the sergeant to offer the recruit an assignment in a safer area in lieu of resigning, the suit states. Alexander protested that the offer to the recruit violated POST regulations, according to his suit.
The recruit accepted the offer, but the deputy chief later rescinded the it and the recruit resigned, the suit states.
Alexander maintains he was summoned to the deputy chief’s office and told to go back to patrol or find another job. He alleges the department’s denial of a promotion in 2016 to a coveted position for which he was most qualified was done in further retaliation.
“He doesn’t sleep, he’s devastated,” Smith told jurors.
Jury deliberations are scheduled to begin Thursday.
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