A jury awarded openly gay LAPD Sgt. Ronald Crump $1.16 million May 19 in his civil case against the city of Los Angeles. Crump claimed job discrimination and retaliation by his LAPD management superiors.
Crump, who had been rising through the ranks as a highly regarded officer, was once the poster boy for the LAPD’s LGBT recruitment efforts. Crump alleged that when he was an LAPD spokesperson with the media relations department, his superior, Lt. John Romero, harassed and humiliated him—and when he complained, he was transferred in retaliation to an undesirable position while Romero was promoted.
Ironically, during the trial, LAPD Inspector General Nicole Bershon issued a report finding systemic problems with how the LAPD handles claims of retaliation. On May 17, the LAPD acknowledged the problem to the L.A. Police Commission.
After the verdict, Crump’s attorney Gregory Smith told the Los Angeles Times
that Crump offered to settle the case for $100,000 and a transfer to Hollywood Division. The LAPD rejected the offer. “From 2008 through 2009, there were approximately 350 investigations done by the LAPD concerning internal complaints of discrimination and retaliation of officers against officers, only one of which was upheld,” Smith told The Times.
After the 13-day civil trial, Crump told Frontiers
, “It was a great dilemma to sue the organization I admire. But my management’s gross decisions adversely affected me, and it needed to be challenged—not only for me, but all the employees that have been affected similarly,” Crump said. “I am pleased that peer community members [the jury] clearly understood my complaint of inequality and unfairness. However, I remain disappointed that the LAPD Command Staff has not acknowledged they gained a better understanding of the poor conduct of their command officers that brought about the complaint and civil lawsuit.
“Also, now that the court ruled there was retaliation, and testimony brought forth great misconduct by command staff, one might expect that internal affairs or the city of Los Angeles might reinvestigate and sustain allegations of gross misconduct against those command staff members. A lack of acknowledgment and understanding is not reconciliation, and demonstrates to me that their command culture may not change. The ultimate outcome will be measured by future decisions and visible changes in behavior and conduct of the LAPD command staff. It is unfortunate this became a public forum, but punitive damages against the LAPD appears to be the only way for the courts to impose conformity to laws and making their wrongs right.”