LOS ANGELES — A judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by a black Los Angeles police officer who alleged he wrongfully transferred to short-term administrative duty after complaining that a white colleague pulled him over and detained him twice despite being shown identification.
In his lawsuit filed in October 2015 alleging race discrimination and retaliation, Lamark Ferguson said the white officer who stopped him explained that he needed to verify the plaintiff’s employment because gang members are known to impersonate LAPD officers.
However, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael Raphael ruled that neither the actions by the white officer nor LAPD management’s later decision to temporarily reassign him showed racial bias.
“Plaintiff articulates no inference tying these facts to the officer and (management’s) state of mind about plaintiff’s race,” Raphael wrote in a six-page ruling issued Aug. 8.
The suit, filed in October 2015, stated that Ferguson was hired by the LAPD in 2009 and was driving while off-duty in South Los Angeles on Aug. 19, 2014, when he was ordered to stop by a uniformed colleague about two blocks away from some property the plaintiff owned and wanted to inspect.
Ferguson says he told the officer that he also was with the LAPD and showed him his driver’s license and department identification card. He also says he had his uniform and badge in the car’s back seat.
“The officer told plaintiff that he needed to verify plaintiff’s employment because “the (gang members) down here are known to impersonate LAPD,”’ the complaint alleged.
The officer allowed Ferguson to leave after 20 minutes. However, after Ferguson pulled into the driveway of his property, the same officer detained him for another 20 minutes while again insisting he needed to verify the plaintiff’s employment, the suit stated.
During the stop, Ferguson contacted his supervisor at the Hollywood Division and said he was being harassed because he is black, according to his court papers.
A month after the two stops, Ferguson filed a personnel complaint against the officer who detained him. The LAPD retaliated by temporarily assigning him to another division, where he was given administrative traffic duties, the suit alleged.
But the judge said in his ruling that when Ferguson was stopped by the white officer, the plaintiff was in the capacity of “a lay citizen in his personal vehicle” and was not in the “course and scope of his employment.”