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4 Pomona Officers Sue City Alleging Leaks During Probe

May 09, 1996

Four Pomona police officers have filed a lawsuit against the city, the Police Department and Deputy Police Chief Charles Heilman over a media leak that named the officers as targets of a police brutality investigation.

Neither the officers nor the Police Department seem to know who leaked the names of Robert Patterson, Jonathan Crenshaw, Philip Dotson and Michael Ezell. But in the lawsuit the officers allege that "their names were disclosed by a ranking administrative officer or employee of the Pomona Police Department."

A fifth officer, Mondo J. Lanier, also was named in a May 3, 1995, Times report about the investigations, but he is not part of the lawsuit.

The internal investigation stemmed from several accusations by Pomona residents that the officers used excessive force, drank on the job and stole narcotics from a crime scene. All five officers were part of the nine-member Major Crimes Task Force at the time.

After an internal investigation, Pomona Police Chief Richard Shaurette said, "We were not able to sustain the investigation into the theft or the brutality. When we do an investigation, we tell officers involved in the investigation not to speak about it . . . to keep partial information from getting out and getting rumor mills started."

The officers filed a separate claim for damages with the city of Pomona last September, but they were rejected a few weeks later, according to information in the lawsuit.

Seeking unnamed "punitive and exemplary damages," the officers said the leak was a violation of confidentiality laws and damaged their reputations.

But Shaurette dismissed the allegations. "I think this Police Department has endured humiliation from this incident," he said.

Charles A. Goldwasser, the attorney for the officers, did not return repeated phone calls.

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