One Year Ago Today (November 25, 2021)…A veteran sheriff’s deputy who previously sued Los Angeles County alleging he was subjected to backlash for reporting that he saw a retired deputy involved in a sex act in a car parked on county property is suing again with an additional retaliation claim.
D’Andre Lampkin’s first Los Angeles Superior Court suit was filed in August 2017. In his new suit filed Monday, he again alleges whistleblower retaliation, maintaining he met backlash for overcoming efforts by county lawyers to have the first suit dismissed.
According to the first suit, Lampkin joined the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department in July 2007 and was assigned to the mental evaluation team at headquarters. He says he observed the retired deputy, who is not named in the complaint, receiving oral sex on Sept. 4, 2015.
“Plaintiff approached the retired deputy to investigate and ultimately gave him a warning because plaintiff had to respond to an emergency call,” the first lawsuit says.
The retired lawman showed Lampkin a badge and warned, “I still know people and I’m very well-connected with the department,” according to the first lawsuit.
Believing that keeping quiet would violate the law, Lampkin reported the former deputy’s actions to his bosses, the first suit says.
Lampkin later learned that the retired deputy had made “baseless criticism” of him to the department “in an attempt to cover up his own illegal conduct,” the first suit alleges. A sheriff’s lieutenant who was a friend of the ex-deputy warned Lampkin that his buddy “knows a lot of people who are high up in the department,” according to the first complaint.
In January 2016, Lampkin, a sergeant and the retired deputy met to discuss the incident, and the former lawman misrepresented what happened by saying he was “enjoying lunch with his girlfriend and worked there,” the first suit alleges.
“You’re very young, I would hate to see you lose your job over something stupid,” the retired deputy told the plaintiff, according to the first complaint.
Lampkin claims that when he refused to corroborate the former deputy’s version of events, the latter slammed one hand on the table, began to rant and said he knew a department chief. The ex-deputy also said Lampkin would lose his gun and badge, “then stormed out of the room after obtaining plaintiff’s business card,” the first lawsuit alleges.
After the former deputy left, the sergeant told Lampkin, “All you have to do is shut up about it,” according to the first lawsuit, which says he began experiencing retaliation in 2016.
Lampkin was suspended for three days for allegedly acting rude in his encounter with the retired deputy, his court papers state. He alleges he also was removed from his coveted position as a mental health evaluator and his supervisors took no action when he complained that he was not given backup help from other deputies or provided proper equipment when he was at a domestic violence call.
Lampkin also was falsely accused of the theft of a badge, according to his court papers.
Attorney Nohemi Gutierrez Ferguson, on behalf of the county, argued during a September 2019 hearing on the county’s motion to dismiss Lampkin’s first suit that if the plaintiff had actually seen misconduct on the part of the retired deputy, he had an obligation to make an arrest. Instead, Lampkin did not make the accusation until the latter complained that the plaintiff was discourteous to him, Ferguson said.
However, Judge Maureen Duffy-Lewis denied the dismissal motion and said Lampkin could take the case to trial, now scheduled for Jan. 10. Her ruling was upheld after the county filed a petition with the 2nd District Court of Appeal seeking to overturn her decision.
Two months after the appellate court ruling, Lampkin was deposed by a county attorney regarding two incidents unrelated to any matter at issue in the litigation, according to the second lawsuit.
“Significantly, prior to this questioning, (Lampkin) had learned from individuals with authority over each incident that he was not the subject of any credible controversy or ongoing dispute related to these incidents,” the second suit states.
Nevertheless, in May 2020, Lampkin was assigned home based on the one of the incidents cited by the county in which he was falsely named a suspect in a criminal investigation by another law enforcement agency, the second suit states.
In March, the department suspended Lampkin for 15 days without pay related to the second incident cited by the county for “alleged failure to secure county equipment,” according to the second suit.
The county’s allegedly retaliatory actions have tarnished Lampkin’s record, compromised his credibility, hurt his ability to earn income and overtime and to advance and promote, the second suit states.