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California in Brief / LOS ANGELES

Firefighter wins new bias trial

December 05, 2007|Robert J. Lopez

A Superior Court judge has ordered a new trial for a black firefighter who sued the city after alleging he suffered harassment and discrimination in the Los Angeles Fire Department.

The suit by Jabari Jumaane was rejected by a jury in June after it deliberated for two days. But after receiving a declaration from a juror, Judge Mel Recana on Monday ordered a new trial "because of juror misconduct," court records show.

During deliberations, one of the jurors dismissed Jumaane's allegations, saying "all black people want is money," according to the declaration. The jury foreman also said the harassment and discrimination claims were nothing more than "guys being guys" in the firehouse.

When a juror tried to complain about the statement, the foreman responded, "What kind of man are you?" according to the declaration.

Jumaane's attorney, Nana Gyamfi, said Tuesday that her client was looking forward to a new trial. "We're back in the saddle," Gyamfi said.

During the last year, the 3,900-member department has been hit with allegations of racism, discrimination and harassment that have cost taxpayers more than $13 million in legal settlements.

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