There are over 22 personnel and human relations complaints that name Chief Spagnoli and/or the City Of Beverly Hills. Below are a sample of some of the lawsuits. An outside consultant’s report regarding the police department’s hiring and discipline practices states that “there are several concerns that should be addressed by the department leadership for optimum effectiveness.” The 50-page report highlights a myriad of issues that need to be immediately addressed.
The latest, explosive lawsuit filed against the BHPD and Chief Spagnoli is from an officer who is suing anonymously for sexual harassment. According to the complaint, the plaintiff did not have any sexual relationship with Chief Spagnoli and did not receive promotional opportunities that males sleeping with the Chief received.
Former Captain Mark Rosen filed a lawsuit against the City for religious and age discrimination. The complaint accuses the chief of downgrading his job because he is Jewish and over 40 years old. According to the lawsuit, Rosen claims the Chief once asked him, “What do your people call those funny hats they wear,” and he claims that she also commented on his nose. The case was settled for $2.3 million!
Anne Marie Lunsman
Officer Anne Marie Lunsman claims she missed out on promotions and special assignments because of an alleged “hostile work environment.” Lunsman alleges she was passed over because of her gender, age, race and religion. Lunsman, who is a Native American and African American police officer, claims a video entitled “Yellow Fever with Soul” was prepared by BHPD officers and posted on YouTube. The video made fun of African Americans and Asian Americans and was played at an official Police Department roll call meeting.
Civilian police business manager Tania Schwartz claims that she was marginalized and lost merit pay after she warned the Chief about the irresponsible use of public money. According to the complaint, “On a regular and continuous basis, the Plaintiff warned or complained that Chief Spagnoli was not following the legal requirements of the municipal code, financial rules or regulations.”
In this case, three employees of the Beverly Hills Police Department employees claim they were marginalized, faced retaliation, or were denied workplace protections by Chief Spagnoli.
According to a Beverly Hills Weekly story, Chief Sandra Spagnoli, who came to BHPD after serving as the “chief in San Leandro, was named in several civil rights and harassment lawsuits before taking over the police department in Beverly Hills.” According to the story, “Ms. Spagnoli believes she was sued 5-10 times before joining BHPD. Spagnoli was sued at least twice when she worked at the San Carlos police department. Ms. Spagnoli then joined the Benecia police department. More lawsuits followed her there,” the filing said. “At San Leandro, the lawsuits continued.” The City of San Leandro paid nearly $1 million settling these suits, paying $314,000 to former police officer Dewayne Stancill, who claimed racial discrimination under Spagnoli’s leadership, and $675,000 to six “current or former” police officers to settle their charges of sexual harassment. In total, 25 different complaints of discrimination, harassment or retaliation have been brought against Spagnoli since approximately December 2016.