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Ex-police officer sues Burbank, alleging wrongful termination

A former Burbank police officer has filed a federal lawsuit against the city alleging that he was wrongfully terminated in retaliation for suing the city four years ago.

The lawsuit was filed last week in U.S. District Court by Elfego Rodriguez, who was one of five officers who sued the city alleging racial discrimination and harassment in 2009. Rodriguez was ultimately dropped from the joint lawsuit by a judge.

To date, lawsuits filed by former and current police officers that center on discrimination and wrongful termination have cost the city more than $7.1 million in legal fees.

Rodriguez is one of the 10 Burbank officers fired in 2010 for allegedly engaging in misconduct and using excessive force when handling the 2007 Porto's robbery investigation. He has repeatedly denied the allegations.

City officials said Rodriguez assaulted a Porto's robbery suspect who, it turned out, was misidentified and not involved in the crime. The city claimed he subsequently lied about the force he used to protect his reputation.

City Atty. Amy Albano said the city had not yet been served with the lawsuit, but it will “defend the lawsuit as it has the previous ones.”

“The city's position was, and always has been, that he was involved in misconduct and that's the basis for him being terminated,” Albano said of Rodriguez.

In his lawsuit, Rodriguez alleges that city officials -- including former Police Chief Tim Stehr and former Chief Assistant City Atty. Juli Scott -- “conspired to retaliate” against him “by making false accusations of unlawful conduct against him, intimidating witnesses and hiding exculpatory evidence.”


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-- Alene Tcheckmedyian

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