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City, 5 White Officers Named : 2 Black Glendale Policemen Sue, Allege Racial Bias

May 05, 1988|MARILYN MARTINEZ | Times Staff Writer

Two black former police officers who allege that they lost their positions because of racial discrimination have filed a civil rights lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court against the city of Glendale and five white police officers.

The complaint alleges that the city and officers violated the civil rights of the former policemen and violated the Fair Employment and Housing Act. Police Chief David Thompson, Sgt. Randy Tampa, Sgt. Donald McNeal, Sgt. Terry Jones and Officer Mario Marchman are listed as individual defendants.

Attorney Raymond Boucher of Westwood said the individual defendants were responsible for distributing racially negative literature about blacks and Latinos in the Police Department.

Boucher filed the complaint on behalf of Siegfried D. Faucette, 29, a seven-year veteran of the Glendale Police Department, and Justus Knight, 28, an eight-year veteran of the department. Faucette has filed a separate $4-million wrongful termination and racial discrimination lawsuit against the city that will be heard in the Glendale Superior Court on May 27.

Fight Broke Out

Faucette was fired in May, 1987, because he was involved in an off-duty fight with a security guard at Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center in January, 1986. The fight broke out when Faucette, seeking medical care for his infant daughter, parked in a hospital emergency zone designated for ambulances and was told to move his vehicle.

Knight has been on leave from the department on stress-related disability since June, 1987.

A series of 18 racially abusive flyers were submitted with the complaint as examples of literature that was distributed at police headquarters.

"The caricatures that were distributed freely in the Glendale Police Department are vicious in their nature," Boucher said. "It's the type of racism that dates back to the early 1900s."

The lawsuit alleges that from 1985 to 1986 Knight and Siegfried were subject to "harassment, slurs and threats because of their race" from "their supervisor and co-employees."

In one incident, Boucher said, a photo of a dead black man was left on Faucette's car with an attached note expressing racial hatred.

The lawsuit asks for back pay, the reinstatement of Faucette to the police force and punitive damages "in excess of $100,000."

The two officers are among the four black officers who testified last year in a federal trial that found that the Glendale Police Department had discriminated against Officer Ricardo L. Jauregui, a Latino.

In that trial, U.S. District Judge Dickran Tevrizian Jr. ruled that Jauregui was passed over for promotion in favor of less-qualified, non-minority officers. The judge ordered that Jauregui be promoted to the rank of sergeant with back pay.

"These officers were ordered to testify, and when they did, they were subjected to more intense harassment," Boucher said.

Glendale City Atty. Frank Manzano called the lawsuit an "unmeritorious complaint." Manzano said he was aware of the complaints since they were brought up in the Jauregui trial. Manzano said Tampa had testified that his racial remarks to Faucette were meant to be humorous.

'Just Fooling Around'

"They were generally just fooling around with him (Faucette)," Manzano said. "It was just a locker room game going on with Tampa and other officers and apparently they (Faucette and Knight) find themselves in a position where they think they can get money from the city."

Phone calls to all the individual defendants by The Times were not returned.

Boucher said the officers want the lawsuit to draw public attention to the Glendale Police Department to eliminate discrimination among police officers but also hope to improve the way police officer interact with the public.

"Officers who have an ingrained feeling of racism are likely to react in that mode out in the street, particularly to suspects of minority races," Boucher said. "The biggest issue we have got to address, when minorities, blacks and Hispanics are stopped by officers in Glendale that they are treated the same as any white suspect, that there is no disparity."

Knight said his only desire it to "bring to surface the (racial) problems" he said existed in the Glendale Police Department.

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