Newport Beach Police Chief Accused of Slimy, Retaliatory Conduct in New Lawsuit

To protect and serve . . . ourselves?
In February 2009, Newport Beach Police Department Sgt. John Hougan acted honorably by testifying truthfully in a civil lawsuit about how his bosses had discriminated against a fellow officer they erroneously assumed was gay and the abused officer, whose promotions had been sabotaged, won the $1.7 million case.

Police department brass didn't discipline any of the offending, high-ranking officers in the Neil Harvey lawsuit. But Hougan--an acclaimed, low-key, veteran cop with a blemish-free, two-decade record of superb public service--found himself called "traitor" and shunned by other cops eager to win favor from management. A punk in the department even taped a picture of a bomb to his desk.

Strange, unsettling things began happening as well to Hougan's wife, Christine, a veteran police dispatcher in the department. She claims chief Jay Johnson repeatedly violated socially acceptable normals by speaking to her within a few inches of her face, breathing on her neck while she was on duty, making sexually-loaded comments and ridiculing her husband in his absence. Johnson even told others that she harbored wife swapping desires.

The absurdity of the atmosphere inside NBPD is underscored by department officials interrogating Mrs. Hougan for nearly three hours about her alleged desire to participate in wife swapping and strenuously building something akin to a capital murder case against her husband by claiming he purposefully drove over a bird at the beach.

In July 2011, NPBD soiled itself by firing officer Hougan and--what a coincidence!--seven months later discovered reason to terminate his wife.

Officer Hougan filed a wrongful termination lawsuit in July 2012 and this week his wife did so as well.

Newport Beach city manager Dave Kiff and chief Johnson would have the public believe that officer Hougan's testimony in the Harvey case was no factor in the firings. They want us to believe that both Hougans went from outstanding to terrible employees after the Harvey trial. They hope people ignore ample, solid evidence--embarrassing facts contained even in a city-issued report--of NBPD corruption.

Posing as the abused, innocent victim of this tale, Johnson told the Daily Pilot's Jill Cowan that the ex-dispatcher's allegations are "frivolous," "pretty outlandish" and "frustrating."

Kiff, who has been a city bureaucrat since 1998, volunteered that he's "saddened" for the chief because he's "a family man."

Mrs. Hougan's lawsuit has been assigned to Orange County Superior Court Judge Ron Bauer.

In addition to the Hougans, other ex-NBPD employees suing the department for offensive, entrenched corruption include Craig Frizzell, Steve Shulman and Rob Morton.

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I worked with J Johnson at LBPD prior to his assignment as Chief of Police Newport Beach PD.  He is one of the finest, most descent men I know. On the other hand my experiences with people who "testify about police corruption" are usually corrupt themselves. In this day and age being gay in law enforcement is about as tame as being straight.... no one cares!  So this story of harassment and "heroic" testifying by the Sergeant is most likely fabrication.  The fact that someone won a $1.7 million law suit pretty much confirms it.  Next time your in court take a look at a jury, can't tell them apart from the suspects!

18usc241 topcommenter

"They hope people ignore ample, solid evidence--embarrassing facts contained even in a city-issued report--of NBPD corruption" 

Considering that I have anecdotes for just about every PD department in this county, maybe it's time for me to pay a visit to the Newport Beach city council. 


"Posing as the abused, innocent victim of this tale, Johnson told the Daily Pilot's Jill Cowan that the ex-dispatcher's allegations are "frivolous," "pretty outlandish" and "frustrating."

One thing I've learned about people who are life destroying sociopaths and who want to be cops at the same time: their sense of outrage once confronted appears to be sincere - they feel entitled to behave the way that they do because of whatever imagined justification. 

It's why a criminal cop is at least as bad as a criminal gang member: even a criminal gang member isn't so lost in the head that he would expect to receive awards and commendations at city hall for the at best inconsistent legacy (to put it politely).  


Did he not learn from Carona?

ltpar topcommenter

The City Council in Newport Beach needs to wake up and smell the java.  It is time to bring in a new Chief from the outside and get the Police Department cleaned up.  The 90% of the dedicated men and women in the department deserve better than they are getting. 


@joerabe You sound corrupt to me. LBPD is even worse than NP!!! They are the masters of beating the shit out of innocent people.


@ltpar 90%?? Put the crack pipe down!! Only about 40% are good cops. Have you ever been pulled over in NB? I lived in an apartment complex where they parked down the street and waited for people walking home or getting out of a taxi from the bar and would harass them, beat them, hog tie them, carry them to their car hog tied and throw them in for being drunk. Wtf?


@ltpar you know any of the players you smuck?

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