A black police officer who testified last year in a federal racial-discrimination trial against the Glendale Police Department was fired this month for his involvement in an off-duty fight, authorities said.
But one attorney involved in the discrimination case claims that the officer, Siegfried Dale Faucette, was dismissed because of his role in the trial.
"I believe he was fired because of testifying," said David Alkire, an attorney for a Latino officer who won a bias case against the department last fall. "The key to the whole thing is that it's retaliation."
"The timing gives rise to that inference," said Cecil W. Marr, attorney for Faucette.
"That is absolutely incorrect," Glendale Police Chief David Thompson said last week. He said Faucette was fired May 1 solely for his role in an off-duty fight with a hospital security guard in Hollywood.
'Facts Warranted Dismissal'
"We look at each and every individual case based on its individual merits and facts," Thompson said. "In this situation, the facts were such that it warranted a dismissal."
Marr said he will appeal Faucette's firing at a Civil Service Commission hearing soon.
Faucette punched a security guard at Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center during a dispute on Jan. 30 when Faucette, seeking medical care for his infant daughter, parked in an emergency zone designated for ambulances, Marr said. Police refused to confirm details of the dispute.
Faucette's dismissal notice, posted in the Police Department last week, alleges four violations of department code. They include the use of "threatening or insulting language" and the unnecessary display of an officer's revolver. Marr denied the latter charge. He called Faucette's dismissal "overly harsh."
"As best I can find out, an off-duty altercation like this usually results in a reprimand to a five-day suspension. I know of no incident where an altercation has resulted in discharge," said Marr. He said he is confident that the Civil Service Commissioner will reinstate Faucette with back pay. He declined comment on further legal action that may result if Faucette is not rehired.
Faucette, a seven-year Glendale police veteran, was one of three black officers who testified last fall in the racism and discrimination trial of Officer Ricardo L. Jauregui, a Latino passed up for promotion in favor of less-qualified Anglo officers.
Last October, U. S. District Judge Dickran Tevrizian Jr. ordered Jauregui promoted to the rank of sergeant with back pay at that rank, retroactive to February, 1985. The promotion is pending until an appeal by the City of Glendale can be resolved.
The federal ruling was followed in March by a second racial-discrimination lawsuit against Glendale filed by a black officer who testified at the Jauregui trial.
The suit alleges that Officer Ronald Jenkins has become the target of "a concerted campaign of harassment" since becoming the first black officer to join the department in 1979 and that the harassment intensified after he was ordered to testify.