Officers Jose Flores, Ryan Reyes, Brian Perez Win $3.5 mil Discrimination Suit Against WPD

Categories: Court

Thumbnail image for westminsterpdcase.jpg
After about three days of deliberations, jurors at the Ronald Reagan Federal Courthouse in Santa Ana on Thursday found that three Latino officers were discriminated against by the Westminster Police Department and awarded them $3.5 million in damages.

Officers Jose Flores, Ryan Reyes and Brian Perez sued the city, Police Chief Kevin Baker and former chiefs Mitchell Waller, Andy Hall and Ron Coopman for denying them promotions and then disciplining them when they complained. The city must pay $436,000 in damages and the chiefs have to pick up the rest.

White Cops Called Latino Officer 'Dirty Sanchez,' But Deny Racism In Federal Trial

"It was a very deserving verdict," attorney Bernard Alexander, who represents the officers. told City News Service. "These are good men who were working under adverse conditions who had the courage to come forward. Others who did not have the courage to come forward will benefit. Most importantly, it forces the people in power to change."

"We don't understand the verdict, reacted attorney Melanie Poturica, who represented the city. She did not believe the jury of four men and four women in U.S. District Court Judge David O. Carter's courtroom found Westminster discriminated against the officers, adding she and her legal team would have to further analyze the verdicts before deciding on an appeal.

Alexander had opened the trial by telling the jury, "This is a case about a lack of opportunity. There were two paths [of employment] inside the Westminster Police Department. One led to opportunity. One led to nowhere. These three were placed on a path to nowhere."

Poturica countered that the plaintiffs didn't win promotions because more qualified white officers had applied at the same time and that the complaining Latino cops were either lazy or dishonest or both. She also read a list of names of Latino officers hired and promoted since 2002, claimed all the police chiefs were unaware of any discrimination concerns, and noted that management's overarching goal has been to place officers in slots that best serve city residents.

But Alexander successfully painted a portrait of a workplace where discrimination against Latinos runs rampant. A sign stating "Whites Only" has been posted in the police station for 19 years. He also presented undisputed evidence that senior, white WPD officials routinely called officer Flores "Dirty Sanchez," an obscene reference to anal sexual activity and oral fecal matter.

Beyond the toxic atmosphere, Alexander pointed to hard numbers that showed Latino officers were disproportionately assigned to "mall duty," a detail that has never alone led to a promotion. Promotions went to officers who received more high profile special assignments, something Perez, who'd previously attained the rank of major in the Marines and served in Afghanistan, never received in his 10 years with the department despite applying often. He eventually gave up. Meanwhile, Flores and Reyes, a "rookie of the year" cop, only had assignments at the mall.

Some Latino co-workers finally did win special assignments--after Flores, Reyes and Perez filed their discrimination complaints, according to Alexander. The lawyer also accused the WPD of having retaliated against the complaining officers by opening unwarranted internal-affairs investigations to soil their reputations prior to the trial.

Email: mcoker@ocweekly.com. Twitter: @MatthewTCoker. Follow OC Weekly on Twitter @ocweekly or on Facebook!



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39 comments
twilight2104
twilight2104

Jose flores shot and killed a handcuffed man on the ground with his pants at his ankles, lets not forget that.

Gus Reynoso
Gus Reynoso

There you go again with your dunce writing skills. It's "You're", not your. Thumbs up?

18usc241
18usc241

Hmmm Latino men being harmed by multiple generations of Orange County, CA law enforcement leadership. Where have I seen this movie before? Oh yeah me with:

Garden Grove PD chiefs

Stan Knee (original idiot)

Joe Polisar

Kevin Raney

Anaheim PD chiefs

Randall Gaston (original idiot)

Roger Baker

John Welter

Raul Quezada

Orange County Sheriffs

Brad Gates (original idiot)

Mike Carona

Sandra Hutchens

The CHP, FBI and numerous other dummies

Irvine PD

Laguna Beach PD

Santa Ana PD

Huntington Beach PD

Long Beach PD

LAPD

LA Sheriffs

San Diego PD

San Diego Sheriffs

Private security at malls

Etc etc etc

A sea of just following orders stupidity combined with the sociopaths who deliberately destroyed my reputation - reference to the original idiots

Rich Hail
Rich Hail

who the hell gives themselves a thumbs up? lol ''Graspers'' is a term.. lol of course you wouldn't know, your not a ''grasper.''

MyVoice8822
MyVoice8822

Please go to http://www.scpr.org/news/2014/03/07/42668/jury-city-of-westminster-4-police-chiefs-discrimin/ for the full story.


1. The four chiefs, and also the city was actually NEVER found guilty of discrimination.


2. Three of the chiefs were found guilty of retaliation after the fact. 1 of the chiefs was not found guilty of retaliation OR discrimination, but the jury still awarded the three officers damages from him. Riddle me that.


3. What was the retaliation? One being Flores did not respond to a domestic violence call 150 yards away from him. That woman was stabbed 14 times in the face. His argument was he was not assigned the call. Why is he a police officer than, if he has no interest in helping people? 



This case sets a precedent. It lets the people know that we are entitled to whatever we want, even if we don't deserve it. The jury found that none of the chiefs looked over these three men because they were hispanic.


This is not okay. 

Gus Reynoso
Gus Reynoso

Rich, the reason you like guys like Gerardo is that they help prove your asinine points. The reason you hate guys like me is that I disprove them and have a much higher level of intelligence and IQ than you. Say what you want, but I just proved it's FACTUAL!

Gus Reynoso
Gus Reynoso

There you go again Gerardo, trying to prove the point this racist guy Rich Hall is making. When you are backed in to a corner and can't make an argument , just go ahead and start name-calling. It just demonstrates your lack of education and low level of intelligence. As for you, Rich Hall, you are one dumb white dude that is full of shit. "Graspers"? That isn't even a word. You never capitalize "Me". It is "they're" not "their". You don't capitalize "White". "The one's" is improper and non-existent. Your use of "niggers" speaks volumes. "Their worst" should be "they're worse". "Non white" should be "non-white". "Where killing" should be "we're killing". "White mans" should be "white man's". "Over populate should be "over-populate". You can't even master basic English and you are making the argument that you are part of the master race!? Dude, go get your surf board out and go catch some waves. It might juggle your brain back into place? Seriously!? You gave me my best laugh in years!!

Rich Hail
Rich Hail

no fag here.. I got 1000s of folder pics.. not one dude.

Rich Hail
Rich Hail

it's true..Hispanic cops to Me belong in Hispanic dominant areas..when their in Rich White areas, they seem to be more dicks due to the jealousy they have toward Whites who got it going on.. If White People don't have toxin compulsions, they are the Master race and quickest graspers.. the one's that are tweekers and ask for change , We Richer Alpha Whites spit on them.. see, you Hispanics team up like niggers although you can't stand each other underneath.. We Whites who see scumbag Whites, We will not team up with them..to us their worst than non White thugs.. America dropped the I.Q. test years ago because What I'm stating is FACTUAL... they tried to BS and say dumb kids where killing themselves..not true! minorities just couldn't keep up with the White and Vietnamese students..many studies proved this..even the guy who invented DNA wrote a thesis on this matter... so go listen to Metalicas ''sad but true.'' believe it or not, in a White Mans eyes, Hispanics could over populate but We still call you all ......... ........minorities.

Gus Reynoso
Gus Reynoso

Mexicans should not be cops!? WTF is your point genius?

robert_graham
robert_graham

They deserved nothing. The suit was frivolous and was staged in order to file suit. It's always the race card being played.

HUUUGE_JOHNSON
HUUUGE_JOHNSON

I'm sick of the attitude that 'well, my race makes up a certain % of the population, therefore my race should have that same % of college spots, CEO positions, police positions, engineering jobs etc etc……' NEVERMIND the fact college spots are based on high school grades, engineering jobs and CEO positions require college degrees and years of experience…..etc etc….


it sounds like they never established these cops DESERVED to be on the promotion track…..this results i solely based on race and some fantasy about the R word.

ocjusticewarrior
ocjusticewarrior

Meanwhile....in the same court building, on the same day, Anaheim killer cop Nick Bennallack is cleared of murdering unarmed Manuel Diaz.....what is wrong with this picture??  When will the 90% wake up??  Cops are killing unarmed people almost every day! 

And did you see the report where LA Sheriffs dept paid over $100 million in the last 3 years to their own deputies for lawsuits?!? That is WAY more than was paid to the families of loved ones murdered by the sheriffs!!  DISGUSTING!!

imgrammadee
imgrammadee

Why am I NOT surprised?  WPD is one of THE WORST depts.  Right up there with Anaheim, Huntington Beach, Fountain Valley, and the list goes on and on.

John Hald
John Hald

Haha figures the cops get the fatty paydays in court what else is new...

Paul Lucas
Paul Lucas

Now that's what I call justice. Now if we can make the Cops that kill with impunity pay the bulk of wrongful deaths suits and their chiefs too maybe we can see a marked decline in publicly sanctioned murders.

18usc241
18usc241

This local newspaper website is like Christmas morning everyday. Thank you Santa. So much to unrap here.

vivamehico
vivamehico

must have had some mexicans in the jury... they did not find any evidence of discrimination yet they awarded them money? its always easy to give other people's money away...any intelligent person can escape jury duty so we are left with the mentally deficient, ie. mexicans...

vegandawg23
vegandawg23 topcommenter

Mixed feelings about this. On one hand they should have just quit and not whined about discrimination. On the other I'm glad it's not just the city paying out but the people who actually committed the tort are suffering financial loss. Wish the city was paying nothing though. Same with Kelly Thomas. Fullerton shouldn't have to pay a dime. Let Ron Thomas sue Manual Ramos and the other cops instead.

paullucas714
paullucas714 topcommenter

Kind of ironic that this happens right as a jury denies justice for a publicly sanctioned murder by a trigger happy cop in Anaheim.

Nick Riviera
Nick Riviera

Great article! It goes to show that only cops can win trials against cops and that discrimination against Mexicans still exists!

roman_archer
roman_archer

Awesome news! It's great to see a little light shed on the way these police departments actually conduct themselves. I've always known this is par for the course. I especially like the fact that the actual police chiefs in question are being held monitarly responsible. Maybe the funds can be automatically deducted from their overly bloated retiirement pay.

robert_graham
robert_graham

The jury made the right decision in the killing because when police say stop they mean it. The punk was a very dangerous man and deserved what happened to him.

18usc241
18usc241

Bingo! Coming to a theater near you.

darkstar4111
darkstar4111

@vivamehico  Are you blind or just plain stupid... "no evidence for discrimination"? just plain the derogatory term "Dirty Sanchez" is discrimination. 

darkstar4111
darkstar4111

@vegandawg23  How can you say that it is okay to just let them people get away with it? When things are bad, you just don't walk away, that's what quitters do. You are actually supposed to be active and fight for what you deserve/want. 

MyVoice8822
MyVoice8822

I know the article doesn't state this very clearly, but none of the officers were actually found guilty of discrimination, three of the chiefs were found guilty of retaliation, but you should look up what they were dinged for on that. It'll blow your mind.

fishwithoutbicycle
fishwithoutbicycle topcommenter

@roman_archer  

It is good news. Maybe a few more hits to the wallet will actually inspire them to change their ways on a grander scale.

MyVoice8822
MyVoice8822

@darkstar4111 @vivamehico  Actually, none of the officers were found guilty of discrimination. Coopman, Waller and Baker were found guilty of retaliation. Interesting thing though, none of the papers have posted what they were dinged for for retaliation.. One of the officers was 150 yards away from a domestic violence call where the woman was stabbed in the face 14 times. The officer chose not to respond, and he was written up for it. That is what they were hit for for retaliation. 

MyVoice8822
MyVoice8822

@darkstar4111 @vivamehico  Actually, none of the officers were found guilty of discrimination. Coopman, Waller and Baker were found guilty of retaliation. Interesting thing though, none of the papers have posted what they were dinged for for retaliation.. One of the officers was 150 yards away from a domestic violence call where the woman was stabbed in the face 14 times. The officer chose not to respond, and he was written up for it. That is what they were hit for for retaliation. 

vegandawg23
vegandawg23 topcommenter

@darkstar4111 @vegandawg23Yeah I disagree. I am a minority and if a place refused me service I wouldn't stage a sit-in, call the diversity police, post a video of it on facebook or sue the place for violating my civil rights. I wouldn't want to eat somewhere that didn't want to serve me anyways. Same with a job. I'd just quit and go somewhere I'm more appreciated. Their loss.

roman_archer
roman_archer

@fishwithoutbicycle One can only hope. I don't know about you, but I'm becoming more and more cynical about these types of issues regarding law enforcement. Socially, I'm color blind. I could never stand by and tolerate, much less encourage and cultivate discrimination or biases against another human being because of race, religion, gender, sexual preference, wealth status, whatever. But I find these types of discriminations especially offensive coming from law enforcement under the color of authority.

18usc241
18usc241

Some people don't want to be Carl's Jr. and have to open up their own restaurant. Some people just want to sit down and eat a hamburger and not get killed for it. Simple request from folks back then I think.

vegandawg23
vegandawg23 topcommenter

@18usc241 They could have gone to black restaurants and supported black businesses and built up their own economy. The outcome could have been an improvement from what we have in the black community now. I'm not entirely familiar with the history but there were laws in place I believe. I'm not saying those laws are right. Just don't have a problem with businesses deciding who they will and won't serve. How is it any different than a club refusing to let me in because i'm overweight and wearing vibrams? I don't go to clubs for that reason among others. Think your attitude is a bit immature.

18usc241
18usc241

Your strategy would have worked perfectly for Black Americans in the 50's and 60's. Just get up and leave the restaurant and then go ABSOLUTELY NOWHERE ELSE.

fishwithoutbicycle
fishwithoutbicycle topcommenter

@roman_archer  

You and I are on exactly the same page. I've never quite been able to wrap my brain around the ugly, twisted logic of bigots. And people in positions of authority who display such deplorable behavior should be relieved of their posts immediately. They have no business serving the public.

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