A veteran Los Angeles police captain sued the city Friday, alleging she suffered a backlash that’s hampering her career advancement for coming forward and alleging that the department doctored violent crime statistics.
“After reporting the unlawful conduct …, it was made clear to plaintiff that she will never advance or promote in the Los Angeles Police Department,” according to Capt. Lillian Carranza’s Los Angeles Superior Court whistleblower lawsuit, which seeks unspecified damages.
Carranza and her attorney, Gregory W. Smith, held a news conference in November to announce she was filing a claim — a precursor to a lawsuit — against the city.
A representative for the City Attorney’s Office could not be immediately reached for comment on the lawsuit filing. However, shortly after Carranza’s November news conference, Chief Charlie Beck called her allegations “not only lies, they’re damn lies.” Both the department and the inspector general looked into similar claims and found no wrongdoing, the chief said then.
Carranza alleged she alerted her superiors about discrepancies in violent crime rates for four years, and was passed over for a promotion because of it.
Carranza said she first told superiors about alleged underreporting of violent crime in the LAPD’s Foothill area, but after no action was taken, she also reviewed reports and found similar issues in the Pacific, Central, Hollenbeck and Mission divisions.
In December, a supervisor sent Carranza to the command post for the Creek fire near Sylmar in retaliation for her revelations, according to her lawsuit, which says the assignment was more suited for a sergeant or a police officer.
“While plaintiff was at the fire, she was exposed to smoke and other carcinogens for 10 to 14 hours a day for three days,” the suit states.
A day after Carranza left the fire zone, she was put on a regimen of steroids, antibiotics, pain medication and breathing treatments, according to her lawsuit.
Carranza alleges she has been denied training and ignored or ostracized during general staff meetings.
“Command staff have taken multiple actions in an attempt to make plaintiff fail in her leadership role as a captain III,” the suit alleges.
Carranza previously sued the city in October 2014, alleging she was being denied promotions in retaliation for her decisions while sitting on two Board of Rights hearings involving allegations of officer misconduct. After one of those hearings, Carranza said she recommended that the officer be suspended rather than fired, and in the second, she issued a not-guilty verdict.
Her decisions were not well received by LAPD management, some of whose members believed all officers sent to Board of Rights hearings should be fired, according to the suit, which Carranza dropped in January 2015. Court records were unclear on whether she reached a settlement or decided against pursuing the case for other reasons.
Carranza joined the LAPD nearly three decades ago. She was born in Honduras, came to the U.S. when she was 10 years old and became a citizen when she was 18. She was raised in New Orleans and was the first in her family to attend college.
–City News Service
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