Montebello firefighter awarded nearly $940,00 for racial harassment, retaliation

LOS ANGELES >> A jury awarded a black Montebello firefighter who sued the city nearly $940,000 Wednesday for racial harassment and retaliation, but did not find true his allegation of racial discrimination, officials said.
The Los Angeles Superior Court jury sided with Vernon Creswell in two of his three accusations in the case, which was first filed in September 2013.
Creswell was awarded $750,000 for racial harassment and about $189,000 for retaliation, according to attorney Jeff Stockley, one of the lawyers representing Montebello. But the jury sided with Montebello regarding the racial discrimination claim.
“We appreciate hat they considered all the evidence,” Stockley said. It was not immediately clear whether the city would appeal the decision.
“We’re currently evaluating our options,” Stockley said.
“We want the citizens of Montebello to know that the city is dedicated to combatting discrimination,” he added.
According to the court documents, Creswell encountered hostility almost immediately after joining to the Montebello Fire Department in 2008 as the department’s only black firefighter.
Attorneys for Creswell did could not be reached for comment late Thursday.
Creswell’s lawsuit claimed that then-battalion chief Greg Mowad, who has since reportedly been terminated, repeatedly used racial slurs. Creswell also accused other members of the department of harassing him based on his race, or failing to act when he reported the behavior.
Mowad and another supervisor have, “openly told Plaintiff’s fellow firefighters to take Plaintiff ‘out back’ to teach him a lesson,” the lawsuit states.
Supervisors constantly criticized Creswell for minor issues concerning his performance and the manner in which he wore his uniform, the claim alleges.
And Creswell claimed he was denied a deserved promotion to the rank of captain, both because of his race, and because he had complained about alleged discrimination and harassment. The lawsuit claims that Creswell was given a different and more grueling test process for the captain position than three competitors, who were not black.
“Plaintiff’s supervisors have made it clear by actions that the Plaintiff will never promote to the rank of Captain in the Montebello Fire Department and that he is not welcome in the department, all on account of his race,” according to the lawsuit.

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Suit claims West Covina cops routinely hooked up with sex crime victims

The suit, filed by Montebello attorney Arnoldo Casillas on behalf of a man who was arrested by suspended officer Tyler Kennedy makes the explosive claim.
The man says Kennedy arrested him and asked a judge to hold him without bail so that Kennedy could carry on an affair with his wife. Here’s the relevant portion of the suit:


“Officers of the West Covina Police Department were permitted to and regularily did pursue and maintain intimate relationships with the victims in the sexual abuse cases they were investigating,”


Casillas’ suit also claims that West Covina officers routinely discriminate against minorities using illegal searches and seizures — and that city officials covered up the criminal activities of rogue West Covina cops.


Kennedy and West Covina Police Chief Frank Wills deny the claims. West Covina Mayor Shelley Sanderson said she backs the police department.

Here’s the story.


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West Covina mosque informant sues FBI for $10 million

Craig Monteith, a West Covina native who inflitrated several Southern California mosques filed suit against the FBI asking for $10 million in damages for an informant fee he never received.

Here’s a bit from the Associated Press:

The claim, dated Saturday, alleges the FBI failed to pay Monteilh $100,000 and provide witness protection as part of an exit strategy from his work as an undercover informant in Southern California mosques.

Monteilh, 46, also accuses the FBI of letting him serve eight months in prison on a grand theft charge he said was related to his work on a case involving the illegal distribution of steroids and human growth hormone.

FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said the agency does not comment on claims.

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