Saturday, March 5, 2011

Orange County Latino officers file discrimination suit

Latino officers file discrimination suit - Orange County Register

WESTMINSTER – Three Latino police officers allege in a federal lawsuit that their higher-ups here engaged in a pattern of discrimination by repeatedly passing them over for special assignments.

The veteran officers say in their lawsuit that they earned commendations, medals of merit and other recognition for their police work but were rejected for such assignments as detective work or motor patrol. Two of them were assigned to the Westminster Mall.

The police department released a statement late Wednesday saying it has "zero tolerance for discrimination in any form." Department officials declined to discuss the specific charges, citing the pending litigation and indicating that the city attorney has not had a chance to review the lawsuit.

Police Chief Mitchell Waller and the city's outside attorneys did not return phone calls seeking comment.

"It's just a trend I've noticed since I started working there," said one of the officers who filed suit, Brian Perez, who has been on the force since 2003 and is also a Major in the U.S. Marines. "It's been ongoing. That's essentially why we're here today."

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