Southgate settles police officers’ lawsuits — millions to be paid out

From the Associated Press:

LOS ANGELES — A southern California city agreed Tuesday to settle a
lawsuit brought by current and former police officers who said they
were discriminated against and harassed because of their connection to
two local Hispanic leaders.

The $7 million settlement ends years
of litigation by 14 officers who claimed that they were harassed,
unfairly disciplined and denied promotions, because of their
association with former Police Chief Rick Lopez and former City
Treasurer Albert Robles.

The officers argued that they were
targeted as a reaction to city political disputes. Lopez and the city
council members who supported him were ousted and Robles was recalled
during a period of political infighting in 2002 and 2003.

details of the settlement were sealed at the request of South Gate, a
working-class city just south of Los Angeles with an annual budget of
about $100 million.

The officers’ lawyer, Bradley Gage, had
previously said his clients would receive a total of $19 million, the
maximum permitted by the city’s insurance policy with American
International Group Inc.

Gage brought other claims against the
city previously, including the case of four officers who won a
$10.4-million jury verdict in 2007 and a former assistant chief who
sued the city for retaliation and was awarded $4.2 million.

The city appealed those verdicts and settled them in Tuesday’s settlement.

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