A former Baldwin Park police chief, fired in April just 49 days after he was hired, alleges in a lawsuit that he was discriminated against because he is Latino and that he was asked by a council member to perform politically motivated activities he believed were improper.
David Salcedo’s Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit also alleges harassment, retaliation, intentional infliction of emotional distress and violations of the Labor Code. The suit, filed Monday, seeks unspecified damages.
City Attorney Robert Tafoya could not be immediately reached.
The all-Latino City Council voted 3-2 in closed session in April to fire Salcedo, who was named to the post in January.
“Within the Baldwin Park Police Department, there has been a pattern and practice of racial discrimination” in the promotions of Latino officers, the suit alleges.
Salcedo was “subjected to this same bias and discrimination and harassment from many police officers and supervisors, who banded together … and used their collective power to effect the termination of Salcedo’s employment,” the suit states.
Salcedo was told that many white officers said “that they would do their best to make sure he didn’t last more than a year, at most,” according to the lawsuit.
The suit states that former Baldwin Park police chief Lili Hadsell and an ex-city attorney, both Latinos, also were fired. Hadsell sued the city and her lawsuit is still pending trial.
Salcedo’s suit states he resisted requests from a council member to “fix” a ticket. The complaint further alleges 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 that he send a patrol car to investigate a vacant house on the politician’s street. The council member was left “angry” and “exasperated” by Salcedo’s refusal to perform the tasks, the suit states.
The council member is not a defendant in the suit.
Salcedo refused to perform actions for political reasons and reported his concerns to the mayor, city manager and city attorney, the suit states.
Salcedo 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, the suit states.
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 the lawsuit.
–City News Service