Six California police officers claim they faced disciplinary actions after complaining about and refusing to meet ticket and arrest quotas set by the Whittier Police Department.
They are now suing the city.
Officers Jim Azpilicueta, Anthony Gonzalez, Mike Rosario, Nancy Ogle, Steve Johnson and Cpl. Joseph Rivera said their “careers [were] materially and adversely affected, and irreparably harmed” by the city when they began speaking out against the quota in 2008 – the lawsuit, filed Tuesday in Los Angeles County Superior Court, says.
The alleged retaliation started after the officers said they complained to their supervisors and the police department’s Internal Affairs Division, the suit claims.
After complaining about quotas, the officers faced a series of disciplinary actions including counseling sessions, unwarranted transfers, increased scrutiny and disparaging comments, the lawsuit said.
Azpilicueta and Johnson were also placed on a supervisory review and performance improvement plan. Johnson was the subject of an internal affairs investigation and was eventually suspended.
The officers say they “spoke out not only for the rights of themselves and their fellow officers, but also for the rights of the public by speaking out against what they believed to be an unlawful citation and arrest quota.”
Imposing arrest and ticket quotas on police officers violates California Vehicle Codes section 41600. The codes makes it illegal for any state or local agency to force officers to meet a certain number of citations or arrests for promotion or disciplinary purposes.
“The lawsuit is unfortunate and the city will determine the best course of action once an analysis of the lawsuit is completed,” City Manager Jim Collier said.
The officers say the ticket and arrest quotas continue to this day. They are seeking an unspecified amount in damages.