Campaign Zero’s “Police Scorecard” Ranks BHPD Last
“The Beverly Hills Police Department received the lowest score of all 100 departments, due to relatively high levels of police violence, severe racial inequities in law enforcement and a system that almost never holds officers accountable for misconduct.”
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The City Council is Ignoring a Crisis at the Top of Beverly Hills Police Department – It Impacts You!
The facts: Twenty-two BHPD sworn officers and civilian employees have filed lawsuits or made formal complaints against the current chief of police and the City of Beverly Hills. The claims come from police officers and civilians of all races, religions, ranks, ages and sexual orientation. The troubling allegations include discrimination, retaliation, sexual harassment and racial and religious slurs. They all allege the department and City did not take any or adequate action to address these issues.
By ignoring or minimizing the numerous legal complaints against the chief, the Council is condoning the chief’s actions. The City Council has failed to live up to its responsibilities under Government Code § 12940, et. seq. and exposed the City (and Beverly Hills taxpayers) to significant liability. Despite the City Council’s claims that it won’t tolerate discrimination or harassment, public statements are not adequate. Definitive action is required.
It gets worse. Despite numerous requests, The City Council has not appointed a truly independent investigator to impartially review the 20-plus lawsuits and formal complaints against the chief. Representatives from the American Civil Liberties Union, the Los Angeles LGBT Center and LAMBDA Legal all requested that the City Council undertake an independent investigation. Our elected City Council provided a jumbled answer at best – indicating that the City will conduct, or has conducted, or is conducting or has finished conducting an investigation of the chief.
Instead of addressing the problem, the City Council and the Police Chief have publicity demonized Police Department employees by calling them “disgruntled” and branding their allegations “ridiculous.” They have also belittled and/or ignored residents’ concerns about the numerous lawsuits and formal complaints of harassment, discrimination and retaliation filed against Police Chief Sandra Spagnoli.
A crisis is a time of intense difficulty, trouble or danger. If 20-plus lawsuits and formal complaints against the chief of police for harassment, discrimination and retaliation doesn’t fit that definition, what does?
It’s time for the Beverly Hills City Council to act!
We chose to live in Beverly Hills because of the great public schools and our amazing Fire and Police departments, who keep us safe and have the nation’s best response times. We have an international reputation for being a safe City for residents, businesses and tourists alike because of our excellent police department. While our expectation is that crime should be low, many residents and businesses already know too well that the current facts and trends show otherwise.
The safety and security of Beverly Hills families and businesses are now being threatened because our Police Department is suffering from a disastrous leadership crisis and critically low morale.
Twenty-two employees of our Beverly Hills Police Department have filed lawsuits or made complaints against the current Chief of Police Sandra Spagnoli and the City of Beverly Hills. The claims are coming from employees, police officers and civilians, of all races, religions, ranks, ages and sexual orientation. The troubling allegations include discrimination, retaliation, sexual harassment and racial and religious slurs. They all allege the department and City did not take any or adequate action to address these issues.
Recently, the City Council settled the first of many lawsuits brought against Chief Spagnoli and the City by a long serving veteran Police Captain for 2.3 million dollars. This first lawsuit was settled by the City right before the case was scheduled to go to trial. The attorney for the captain said, “The City of Beverly Hills has agreed to pay 2.3 million dollars based on our claims of discrimination and retaliation and based on the evidence that I have seen it was a bargain. The Police Department has significant issues concerning discrimination, harassment, and retaliation of its employees, which undermines public safety and employee morale.”
Several other Beverly Hills Police Department employees, sworn officers and civilians, have retained legal counsel and filed lawsuits or complaints against the Chief, Police Department and/or City.
Your City Council and Police Chief are now publicly calling these dozens of heroic police personnel disgruntled employees and their allegations “ridiculous”—and yet they are settling these lawsuits with millions of your dollars! According to the LA Times, Mayor Gold “rushed to Spagnoli’s defense and scoffed at the suggestion that she ever made an anti-Semitic remark”. This is unacceptable!
Beware of What You Read In The Press!
Our City has spent almost 1 MILLION DOLLARS so far on outside law and PR firms to defend the City and Police Chief. Recently, the Beverly Hills City Council hired public relations and crisis management guru Michael Sitrick, author of Spin and The Fixer. Strick’s crisis management firm, whose clients recently included Harvey Weinstein, was retained to help the City “manage” this crisis.
According to Sitrick’s own website he “cleans up the messes of companies, celebrities and others”, is “shrewdly proficient at manipulating the media”, and has the “ability to play the media to his clients’ advantage”.
Couldn’t or shouldn’t all that money have been better spent investigating and fixing the allegations and problems instead of trying to figure out how to make the City Council and Chief look better publicly and politically?
The financial impact of this debacle is extremely concerning. However, the morale of our hardworking police officers and our civilian employees should be even more concerning.
Every resident, business and visitor to Beverly Hills suffers when our police department is in turmoil. When you have low morale in your police department, everyone suffers. With so many BHPD employees saying that the department morale is now at an all-time low, and willing to sign their names to that fact via lawsuits, immediate action must be taken.
The countless brave officers and personnel of our BHPD are reporting to work daily and performing heroically and brilliantly in the face of danger and an uncomfortable and often hostile work environment. They should not have to face workplace harassement, discrimination, unwarranted criticism and verbal abuse from their own department leadership and the feeling of being unappreciated while doing their jobs.
We recognize that keeping morale high among law enforcement employees is a difficult job, but one that is essential to an effectively run department and safe City. Strong leaders are key to making this happen. Make no mistake, morale within a department falls squarely on the shoulders of its leaders. The buck stops with them!
Time for Action
It is now the responsibility of our City leaders to proactively address and fix the critical and shocking problems and issues that have led to this devastating CRISIS IN OUR POLICE DEPARTMENT! It is time to restore our Beverly Hills Police Department to its historic and rightful place as the finest Police Department and most desirable Police Department to work at in the world.
If you want to express your outrage about the crisis in the police department, you can email the Mayor and City Council at: MayorandCityCouncil@beverlyhills.org.