A 23-year veteran Los Angeles traffic officer has been fired for appearing in a pornographic online video while on duty and in uniform, officials said Thursday.
John K. Dancler was discharged Monday, said Maggie Whelan, general manager for the city Personnel Department. He challenged his firing on the same day, filing an appeal with the city's five-member Civil Service Commission.
Dancler was dismissed for engaging in misconduct on the job and in uniform, and participating in "indecent acts" that reflected unfavorably on the city workforce, said Bruce Whidden, the commission's executive director. Those acts included "groping the bare breasts, spanking the bare buttocks and being straddled by an adult video actress in public" around March 2008, he said.
Dancler, a resident of Los Angeles, was hired in 1988 by the Department of Transportation and earned nearly $56,000 annually. His attorney, Bobby Samini, called the termination unwarranted and said city officials made his client a "convenient scapegoat."
Samini said the public has not been given an accurate depiction of Dancler and warned that, depending on the outcome, the termination proceedings could result in a lawsuit.
"There are going to be a lot of facts that are going to come out regarding what happened after the incident that will paint a very unpleasant picture for the city," he said.
Traffic officers are assigned to issue parking tickets and guide motorists at heavily congested intersections, among other duties. The investigation began nearly three months ago, following a report by KNBC-TV Channel 4 on the porn video, which appeared on an adult website.
A second officer who was investigated in the matter received "appropriate discipline," said Transportation Department spokesman Bruce Gillman. Whelan said Vaughn Dorsey, the other officer in the video, still works for the department.
The firing comes at a time when personnel woes are roiling two other city agencies.
Four workers have been placed on leave in the animal services department as a result of an investigation into the disappearance of animals from a shelter in Lincoln Heights — as well as possible time card fraud.
City Controller Wendy Greuel said Wednesday that she would audit the agency, which is trying to determine whether shelter workers stole dogs and sold them for a profit.
Four employees have been fired over the last four months at the Department of Building and Safety. Three admitted accepting bribes in exchange for providing permits and other approvals. The fourth, Frank Rojas, has filed a challenge of his firing with the Civil Service Commission.
Whidden said Rojas was dismissed after officials concluded that he had falsified records and issued permits for projects whose applicants had not submitted plans. Rojas also approved plans for projects that had the incorrect number of parking spaces and lacked certain code requirements, Whidden said.
The FBI caught city building inspectors accepting bribes on tape earlier this year.