A former Baldwin Park police chief who was fired in 2017 — 49 days after being hired — reached a conditional settlement with the city of his lawsuit alleging whistleblower retaliation, violation of his privacy rights and other claims.
Lawyers in the case issued a joint set of court papers on Aug. 3 with Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Monica Bachner stating that the case’s resolution is contingent upon approval by the Independent Cities Risk Management Authority. No terms were divulged.
In his suit brought in September 2017, David Salcedo alleged that he was asked by a council member to perform politically motivated activities he believed were improper. But in their court papers, defense attorneys denied any wrongdoing on the part of the city.
“Plaintiff is disingenuous in claiming his termination had to do with any purported whistleblowing, his race, age or claimed disability,” the city’s lawyers stated in their court papers.
“Rather, he did not have the support of the City Council, the body he reported to, after it became clear he was the wrong fit as chief of police.”
The all-Latino City Council voted 3-2 in closed session in April 2017 to fire Salcedo, who was appointed to the post in January of that year.
Salcedo said he resisted requests from a council member to “fix” a ticket. He further alleged that the council member asked him to perform politically motivated actions, including towing a truck that was legally parked, to leave in place no-parking signs placed in violation of the city code, and sending a patrol car to investigate a vacant house on the official’s street.
The council member — who is not a defendant in the suit — was left “angry” and “exasperated” by Salcedo’s refusal to perform the tasks, according to the plaintiff’s court papers.
Salcedo said he refused to perform actions for political reasons and reported his concerns to the mayor, city manager and city attorney. He also complained to the mayor about what he believed was excessive billing by the city attorney and offered the opinion that two to three permanent in-house lawyers could be hired for the same price, his suit alleges.
Salcedo suffers from carpal tunnel syndrome and has back problems, but when he asked the city for user-friendly items to alleviate the pain, he was told he had to pay for them, according to his lawsuit.
Salcedo also alleges that the city took medical documents from his office right after his termination.
Another former police chief, Lili Hadsell, sued the city for gender discrimination and was awarded $7 million by a Los Angeles Superior Court jury in March 2019.
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