Two current Los Angeles Airport police officers and one former department member tentatively settled their suit with the city in which they alleged they were discriminated against because they are Black and subjected to inappropriate comments by white sergeants, including one who called Barak Obama the “N-word” and said he hoped the former president dies.
Lawyers for plaintiffs Devin Staten, Damien Jackson and David Rodgers filed a notice of “conditional” settlement of their case on July 30 with Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Richard J. Burdge Jr. and a request for dismissal with the same judge on Aug. 16. No terms were divulged and it could not be immediately ascertained if the case resolution is subject to City Council approval.
The plaintiffs alleged in their suit filed in April 2018 that they were the victims of racial discrimination and retaliation. Each man was denied special assignments and promotions within the department and subjected to false internal affairs investigations, according to their court papers.
The plaintiffs alleged that Sgt. Jeff Shelton, a supervisor, wrote on his Facebook account that black officers are not punished because of their race and that the sergeant posted the comment, “I’m tired of President Obama’s racist comments getting officers killed.”
Another sergeant who also was a supervisor referred to Obama as “that N-word O’Bama (sic), I hope he dies,” according to the plaintiff’s court papers.
Both Shelton and the other sergeant are white, the plaintiffs’ court papers stated.
Jackson contended he was called a Black Panther, Malcolm X and other derogatory terms.
Staten is no longer with the department and has himself to blame, attorney Todd A. Picker, on behalf of the city, stated in his court papers.
“Staten was fired because he was a member of a criminal motorcycle gang called `The Chosen Few,”’ Picker wrote in his court papers. Staten, 43, acknowledged being a member of the Antelope Valley chapter of the biker group, according to Picker’s court papers.
Unlike Staten, Jackson, 47, and Rodgers, 41, were not disciplined or demoted, according to Picker’s court papers.
But according to the plaintiffs’ court filings, all three plaintiffs were subjected to actions that left them believing that being Black meant being unwelcome in the workplace.
Staten and his fellow members of the Chosen Few do charitable work, but some members of the department believed that Black men riding motorcycles must be gang members simply because of their race, the plaintiffs’ court paper stated.