Photo by Tim1965 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons.
Photo by Tim1965 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons.

A half-dozen Whittier police officers are suing the city, alleging they were retaliated against with unwarranted scrutiny and other punishment for complaining about having to meet traffic citation quotas.

The Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit was filed by officers Joseph Rivera, Jim Azpilicueta, Anthony Gonzalez, Steve Johnson, Nancy Ogle and Mike Rosario. They are seeking unspecified damages.

“As this is a pending claim that is currently under review, the city does not have any comment at this time,” City Manager Jeffrey Collier said late this morning.

The suit filed Tuesday alleges that starting in 2008, the Whittier Police Department “imposed an unlawful citation and arrest quota” in violation of the state Vehicle Code. The quotas were used as a “benchmark for performance,” according to the lawsuit.

“WPD thereafter retaliated against those who refused to participate in and/or reported the unlawful citation and arrest quota,” the suit alleges.

The six officers repeatedly complained about the alleged quotas to their supervisors and members of the Internal Affairs Division, believing the standards were unlawful, according to their lawsuit.

In response, they allege, the WPD punished the officers by placing negative language about them in their personnel files, putting them under increased scrutiny, requiring them to undergo unneeded counseling and subjecting them to unwarranted transfers.

“Plaintiffs spoke out not only for the rights of themselves and their fellow officers, but also for the rights of the public by speaking out against what they believed to be an unlawful citation and arrest quota…,” the suit states.

The careers of all six officers have been “irreparably harmed and damaged” by the alleged retaliation, which also has caused them significant emotional distress, according to their court papers.

— City News Service

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