Burbank must pay fired deputy police chief $1.4 million, jury rules
A former Burbank deputy police chief was awarded nearly $1.4 million Monday after a jury found that police and city officials demoted and fired him when he raised concerns about discrimination at the department.
The award for William "Bill" Taylor was for lost wages between his termination by former Police Chief Tim Stehr in June 2010 until the rendering of the verdict. The total includes money that should have been paid into his pension.
Taylor's attorney, Gregory W. Smith, said he will go to court to seek reinstatement for his client at his former position of deputy chief.
From the beginning, Burbank officials said they believed their actions against Taylor were justified and in the best interests of the department and city.
The city is "obviously disappointed with the decision" and "will be looking at all appropriate options about how to move forward," City Atty. Amy Albano said in a statement.
But Smith said the city spent hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars "to create a sham investigation to justify the termination of officers that committed no wrongdoing."
"The jury did not believe the city manager, the jury did not believe former Chief Stehr and the jury did not believe the investigator the city paid $170,000 to conduct a six-month investigation," Smith said.
Taylor, who sued the city in 2009, alleged that his demotion to captain from deputy chief resulted from his complaints about efforts by the city's police union to terminate minority officers during their probationary periods with the department.
After filing a complaint with the state, Taylor was fired, Smith said.