A city employees' union has filed a claim for $25 million in damages against the City of Carson and Los Angeles County for videotaping picketing workers during a labor dispute.
In a claim filed Nov. 21 with Carson and the county, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 809 charged that the taping violated the workers' right to free speech.
The filming was conducted Aug. 13 at the city's request by the Sheriff's Department, said union attorney Gilbert Gaynor. Law enforcement officers taped the workers for about five minutes from a vehicle parked near Avalon Boulevard and Carson Street, he said.
"We believe it was designed to have a chilling effect on the right to free speech," Gaynor said. "We also believe the City of Carson was using the Sheriff's Department as a private security force, which is a violation of the neutrality (law enforcement) should have in such circumstances."