A settlement was reached in a lawsuit brought by four current and one former member of the San Gabriel Police Department who alleged they were subjected to racial slurs and hindered in their promotion opportunities because they are Asian.
The plaintiffs in the Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit are Allen Sam, Wei “Gilbert” Lee, Sunny Kim, Vy Van and Nhat Huynh. Kim left the department a month before the suit was filed in November 2017.
Lawyers for the city of San Gabriel on Thursday filed a request for dismissal of the case. No terms were divulged.
Although the city of San Gabriel has a majority Asian population, the SGPD “maintained a workplace culture in which members of the police department’s management and (the plaintiffs’) fellow officers frequently and openly disparage people of Asian descent,” according to the officers’ court papers.
The plaintiffs heard racial slurs as well as mock Asian accents and disparaging comments about how Asians look, what they eat and how they drive, the plaintiffs’ court papers stated.
Lawyers for the city argued in their court papers that the plaintiffs’ claims had no merit.
Sam submitted a sworn declaration earlier in the case.
Throughout my career at SGPD, I have been subjected to harassment based on race and national origin,” Sam said. “This harassment has included, but is not limited to, my fellow officers using mock Asian accents … and hearing disparaging comments based on negative stereotypes about Asian people, such as comments that Asian people cannot drive well.”
The SGPD’s officers and members of management participated in the alleged harassment, Sam said.
Huynh also submitted a declaration, alleging his supervisor in the detective bureau, Sgt. Jeff Whitney, was hostile toward him.
“Sgt. Whitney often accused me of not working and would ask me questions like, `Are you even doing anything right now?”’ Huynh said.
Whitney would ask such questions even when Huynh was busy completing tasks, such as surveillance or collecting evidence, he said.
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