LAPD Officer Awarded $1.2M In Racial Discrimination Suit - KMSP-TV

LAPD Officer Awarded $1.2M In Racial Suit

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FOX 11's Robin Sax and Phil Shuman FOX 11's Robin Sax and Phil Shuman
Los Angeles, CA -

(FOX 11) LAPD Officer Earl Wright had his day in court and the jury spoke loudly in his favor: He was awarded $1.2 million for racial harassment while he was on the job with the department.

"I was confident the jury was going to vote in my favor with all the evidence," he told FOX 11 on his way out of court. "I was happy I got a good verdict."

The racially-mixed jury deliberated for less than a day before announcing their unanimous verdict.

According to his lawsuit, Wright, a 23-year veteran of the force, said he was humiliated, hospitalized, off work for seven months, and threatened.

READ: Wright's Lawsuit Against LA (PDF)

Wright said he will continue being an LAPD officer because he loves his job at the officer training division.

"The things that happened at the Central Division happened at Central Division. I'm working now with a good group of people," he added.

There was uncontested evidence presented during the trial that included his fellow cops, including a supervisor, using the N-word; posting pictures of Wright in the station taken from his Facebook page and altered with what he felt were racial taunts; He was given a cake to celebrate his 20th anniversary with the department that was topped with fried chicken and a slice of watermelon.

The city, in defending the case, points out Wright didn't claim he was offended until almost a year after the incidents; that he'd been a cop without complaint since 1989; and that he was a willing participant in all the "off color banter" and" jokes among friends" that was common in that division.

Wright said that his jokes never crossed the line like he believes his so-called friends did. Was he looking for a payday? He says no and the jurors believed him.

Deputy City Attorney Daniel Aguilera responded to the verdict saying, "The city will look at its post-trial options."

FOX 11 legal analyst Robin Sax and I have been doing a lot of LAPD stories in the wake of the Christopher Dorner psycho killer rampage -- not on him but on his allegations that the LAPD has problems with racism, unfair discipline, and retaliation against cops who complain.  

The Wright jury certainly seemed to agree at least in his case.


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