The suit, filed last week in Los Angeles County Superior Court, alleges that black officers were promoted over whites despite receiving lower scores on promotional exams and that white officers were disciplined more harshly for misconduct compared with black officers facing similar accusations.
Even serious misconduct by black officers, such as repeated domestic violence arrests, criminal investigations for burglary or smuggling steroids resulted in little or no discipline, the suit alleged.
According to the lawsuit, Edward Corrington, Arthur Juliano and Jeff Shelton alleged that the environment at the department was “racially charged” and “permeated with discrimination.” Specialized units including the K-9 unit were dominated by black officers, the suit alleges.
The suit contends that the environment began at the academy and that the department’s recruiting arm was also predominantly black.
“In maintaining a virtually all-black division responsible for recruitment, background investigations and training, the department ignores the fact that Los Angeles has a population less than 10% black and an airport in which less than 5% of the passengers are black,” the officers’ attorney, Michael McGill, wrote in the lawsuit.
The lawsuit alleged that former airport security Chief James Butts Jr. requested a list of officers with their ethnicities after a 2007 test for sergeant promotions and “manipulated” the rankings so that more black officers would be promoted.