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Judge dismisses one officer's case in racial discrimination suit against Burbank Police Department

March 18, 2010 |  1:36 pm

A judge on Thursday dismissed the case by one of the plaintiffs in a civil lawsuit brought by five minority officers who sued the Burbank Police Department alleging the department allowed a pattern of discrimination and sexual harassment and retaliated against those who complained about it

In throwing out the case of Jamal Childs, Burbank Superior Court Judge Joanne O'Donnell ruled that discriminatory comments alleged by Childs were inadmissible because they fell outside the statute of limitations.

"We strongly disagree with the court's decision today and plan on appealing, said attorney Solomon Gresen, who is representing Childs and four other Burbank officers.

Childs, "observed and reported numerous instances of racial and gender-based discrimination, harassment and retaliation" and when he complained he "was subjected to retaliation and ostracism, and denied promotional opportunities" Gresen said.

Officials with the Burbank city attorney's office did not immediately return calls for comment.

Last May, Childs joined Lt. Omar Rodriguez and Officers Cindy Guillen-Gomez, Steve Karagiosian and Elfego Rodriguez in the suit that sought damages of up to $10 million against the Burbank Police Department.

The plaintiffs noted that in the nearly 100-year history of the department, no African American has been promoted above the rank of police officer. They described an environment in which racial slurs, including the "N" word, the "C" word, "taco vendor" and "towel head," were commonplace.

The plaintiffs also allege that officers reported this and other illegal acts to their supervisors, who "threatened, demoted, ordered them to shut up."

-- Andrew Blankstein