L.A. NOW

Southern California -- this just in

« Previous Post | L.A. NOW Home | Next Post »

Lawsuit tied to Mel Gibson’s anti-Semitic rant must go to trial, judge rules [Updated]

Mee A judge refused Tuesday to dismiss a lawsuit filed by the Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy who arrested Mel Gibson on suspicion of drunk driving in 2006 and subsequently alleged he was retaliated against for not removing the actor's anti-Semitic slurs from an initial arrest report, the deputy's attorney said.

Attorneys representing the county had filed the motion requesting dismissal. Deputy James Mee says that in the years since the incident he has been passed over for promotions and had his job performance unfairly scrutinized. Because the deputy is Jewish, his attorneys have said, he is unfairly suspected of leaking details of Gibson's tirade to the media.

"When considering the evidence, a jury could easily see the discrimination, retaliation and harassment James Mee suffered at the sheriff's department," said Mee's attorney Etan Z. Lorant. Yael Trock, also representing Mee, said she was pleased to get the chance to show a jury how the deputy's career was harmed because he reported Gibson's anti-Semitic remarks.

Sheriff's officials have vigorously denied the allegations of retaliation and ethnic discrimination.

"We look forward to telling the whole story," sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore said.

The trial is set for September, Trock said.

Mee, who is still employed by the department, said that as a deputy assigned to DUI duty in Malibu, he approached the 2006 arrest as routine. He included Gibson's slurs, he said, to illustrate how drunk the actor was.

"The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world," Mee quoted Gibson as saying.

Mee, 56, said he was planning to write the arrest report on another day because it was already late in his shift but was told by a supervisor that department higher-ups were waiting. Gibson, Mee's attorneys said, was of special interest to sheriff's officials because he was a friend of Sheriff Lee Baca and had appeared in a public service announcement for a department-administered nonprofit.

[Corrected at 5:16 p.m.: An earlier version of this post incorrectly said Mee is 55.]

Sheriff's officials have denied Baca intervened on the actor's behalf.

When Mee documented Gibson's rant, a supervisor told him the material was "not acceptable" because the anti-Semitic comments were irrelevant to the DUI, Mee said.

Mee said he was asked to remove Gibson's comments from the initial report and to include them in a supplementary report that would not have been immediately available to the public.

"That makes it look like an afterthought," he said. "In front of a jury, I would look like an idiot."

He said he eventually followed a lieutenant's order to write separate reports. A memo from the Los Angeles County district attorney's office later confirmed that Mee was instructed to write a supplemental report to be placed in a locked safe along with a recording of Gibson's booking and a bottle of tequila found with Gibson.

The Sheriff's Department downplayed the incident until Mee's initial report was made public by TMZ.com. Mee was suspected of leaking details to the celebrity news site. Despite records showing calls between his home and TMZ founder Harvey Levin, no charges were filed against the deputy.

Since arresting Gibson, Mee alleged that he had been the target of internal investigations based on trumped-up allegations, causing stress and loss of potential earnings. His complaint details numerous instances in which he says he was overlooked for promotions and new positions despite being qualified. In one instance, Mee said, he was denied a position at the West Hollywood patrol station after interviewers told him they worried that he would be too harsh on high-profile individuals he stopped for violations.

RELATED:

Mel Gibson extortion case delivered to L.A. prosecutors

-- Robert Faturechi

Photo: Los Angeles County Sheriff deputy James Mee in July 2006. Mee arrested Mel Gibson on suspicion of drunk driving in 2006. Credit: Nick Ut / Associated Press

 
Comments () | Archives (26)

Just because they hire a Jew doesn't mean they don't hate them.

Did anyone ever consider the possibility that Jame Mee was passed over for other positions because he is profoundly incompetent? Imagine that...

it doesn't matter what actually happened in terms of him not getting promoted. he leaked files, that has to be against the rules, they should have fired him.

that's what this is about.

Another bogus lawsuit. Suck it up, Mee, you louse!

Deputy seem to not understand that there are two sets of laws: one for the rich/well connected and another for the little people.
Sherriff does not seem to understand that people are watching ALL his actions in a high profile case and that there are consequences for his arrogance and preferential treatment of different people.

Welcome to America, where "all men are created equal" and have a right to "equal protection of the laws". Too bad some people are more equal than others, eh?

This dude lost all credibility the minute he started wearing a fanny pack.

Come on now Judge! This case should have been thrown out! Do we even have money to spend on this frivolous stuff? The guy did not get a promotion and his performance was scrutinized? Come on! Just hate to see this type of waste going on in our court system.

Mel Gison was slurring his words and highly intoxicated, also his an alcoholic
that is subject to memory black outs.
My question is this, how did he know the Policeman was a Jew?
Was he responding to something the cop said about him?
If so why would a cop be communicating with a man he considered very intoxicated?

If he leaked files, they would have fired him. They didn't fire him, because he didn't leak the files.

Another bogus lawsuit. I guess this guy thought it was all about him, and not about Mel's DUI.

"In front of a jury, I would look like an idiot."

Well, you are a sheriff.

Once again that scum Harvey Levin is in the middle of it.

What a crybaby; what a goofball of a judge.

@bill 2/22 3:13pm:

Deputy Mee didn't leak a file. If you have direct evidence of any wrongdoing, the D.A.'s office is ready to hear from you at (213) 974-3512.

What Mee did is to record the slurs he received from Gibson in his "searchable-by-the-public" police report. In doing this, he may be fairly suspected of inappropriate judgment, but it is not against any officer regulations, department orders, city ordinances, or state or federal law.

In one instance, Mee said, he was denied a position at the West Hollywood patrol station after interviewers told him they worried that he would be too harsh on high-profile individuals he stopped for violations.

Boom / pay the man!

is Mee really 55 years old?

Mee is just typical. Perhaps he should have followed the orders of superiors. Perhaps 'he' should be dismissed.

I hope James Mee sues the hell out of the department. I am sure the department acted against him and took up or tried to cover the "Jew hating Gibson" incident.

How can Mel Gibson hate Jews when he worships one? Go figure!

Sounds like the same attitude that helped not get him those promotions. Instead of blaming others for why you did not get promoted bozo look at yourself and maybe you will find your answer!
Should be sued for leaking info and at the very least demoted.

For crying out loud get a life. What happened to freedom of speech in this country. Mel Gibson had every right in the world to say what he wanted to and the cop should have sucked it up he's a big boy who was sober and new that Mel Gibson was drunk. He should have overlooked the comments and just arrest adn take him in that's his job. Don't stand by and cry about it now. Your just trying to get something for nothing

The minute he spoke with Harvey Levin, and mysteriously, the report landed in the possession of TMZ, Mee's credibility with his bosses went out the window. His job is to protect and serve the public, not to spread damaging information in the tabloid media. 2nd rate cop.

Scary to see how blind the majority of these people posting comments are, probably because they've never faced such discrimination.

Good for Mee. It's a good thing the authorities don't let some individuals off the hook because they are famous. What kind of messae does that and to our children? It's terrible that an officer of the law would be discredited for doing his job by the very people who are supposed to uphold the law.

A lawsuit that alleges Sheriff Baca or his top brass gave special treatment to a celebrity by sanitizing a crime report that contained the star's drunken and hateful speech doesn't sound "bogus" to me.

It's amazing some posted comments express the view this is a "frivolous" case. In fact, this lawsuit is important. It's the only way we're going to know what REALLY happened.

If true, which is worse: Mel Gibson driving drunk and spewing anti-Semitic slurs? A Sheriff and his top staff trying to cover it up? A deputy blowing the whistle?

@jjw

You're absolutely right. There are two sets of rules. Mr. Mee believes that because he's a Jew, he has the right to leak documents to a fellow Jew, Mr. Harvey Levin of TMZ, despite his ethical obligation not to leak documents against his superiors orders, and is wondering why he did not get promoted. Mr. Mee stabs the Sheriff Dept in the back and in return did not get promoted and rewarded, thus it must be discrimination. Will TMZ be suing the Sheriff Dept. for not giving it more leaks for its show? I wish somebody tails Mr. Levin with a camera to his face 24/7 while making condescending comments about his clothes, dating life, etc and makes $ off of him.

 
1 2 | »

Connect

Recommended on Facebook


Advertisement

In Case You Missed It...

Video

About L.A. Now
L.A. Now is the Los Angeles Times’ breaking news section for Southern California. It is produced by more than 80 reporters and editors in The Times’ Metro section, reporting from the paper’s downtown Los Angeles headquarters as well as bureaus in Costa Mesa, Long Beach, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, Riverside, Ventura and West Los Angeles.
Have a story tip for L.A. Now?
Can I call someone with news?
Yes. The city desk number is (213) 237-7847.

Categories




Get Alerts on Your Mobile Phone

Sign me up for the following lists: