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Council approves settlement

An LAPD captain who said he was improperly denied promotion will be paid $650,000.

January 25, 2007|Steve Hymon | Times Staff Writer

The Los Angeles City Council voted 11 to 0 Wednesday to approve a $650,000 lawsuit settlement for a police officer who alleged that ex-Police Chief -- now Councilman -- Bernard C. Parks denied him a promotion as a form of retaliation.

Parks recused himself from the discussion and vote.

The tentative settlement, which now goes to Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, was with Jim Tatreau, one of three Los Angeles Police Department officers who brought the case. The cases involving the other officers -- Richard Bonneau and Richard Wemmer -- are pending.

As members of the board of directors of the Command Officers Assn. in the late 1990s and early 2000s, the three men clashed repeatedly with Parks over a range of issues, according to the complaint. Those issues included pay and their call for Parks' firing. As a result, Tatreau alleged, Parks repeatedly denied him promotion from captain to commander.

Parks could not be reached for comment Wednesday. He recently filed a declaration that supports a woman police officer who alleges in a separate lawsuit against the city that command officers blocked her promotion and retaliated against her when she complained.

"Jim has committed his life to the LAPD, and it is nice that those people who are responsible stood up and attempted to make good," said Dan Stormer, an attorney for the officers.

Councilman Dennis Zine said he initially was reluctant to vote for the settlement because of concerns that it might undermine the chief's authority to make appropriate promotions.

But he said he decided to vote yes because of Tatreau's reputation and the fact that he later was promoted by Parks' successor, Chief William J. Bratton. Zine also said he expected that a jury would sympathize with Tatreau, who is ill with cancer.

"After weighing all the circumstances -- and there was a lot of extenuating circumstances -- we thought that this was the best decision," Zine said.

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