4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

SDPD sgt.'s racism case to go forward

Judge rejects city attorney's bid to keep evidence from public

The discrimination lawsuit brought by an African-American police sergeant that accuses the San Diego Police Department of racial discrimination and harassment will move forward, according to a Friday, April 29, court ruling.

Superior Court judge Joel Wohlfeil denied a motion submitted by attorneys for the city to seal records as well as for summary judgment of a January 2015 lawsuit from Sgt. Arthur Scott.

Scott joined the force in 2004. In the ten years after joining, Scott received numerous awards and accolades from his superiors. That changed in 2014 when he began complaining about racism inside the police force.

The allegations of racism included complaints that police instructors used racist materials during mandatory training sessions. One such item, as first reported by the Reader, was an early-1900s cartoon that ran in the San Diego Sun: it depicted San Diego's first African-American police officer, Frank McCarter, as "ape-like, carrying a large pistol and brandishing an oversize police baton."

Scott's attorneys also submitted documents showing San Diego police officers had complained over posters of President Obama and submitted complaints that there were "too many black supervisors" in the Southeastern Division and "too many black faces" on a mural at a police substation.

Shortly after Scott began submitting his complaints he was passed over for a promotion and then transferred to a different division. During that same time his superiors threatened to open an investigation into Scott's handling of a mentally unstable man who was brandishing a sword — the investigation never occurred. Scott was also accused of driving to his home while he was on duty. No follow-up action was taken.

But attorneys for the city asked that the training materials, complaints, and other evidence be kept from the public.

Judge Wohlfeil denied the request.

"[City] has not shown that...(1) There exists an overriding interest that overcomes the right of public access to the record; (2) The overriding interest supports sealing the record; (3) A substantial probability exists that the overriding interest will be prejudiced if the record is not sealed; (4) The proposed sealing is narrowly tailored; and (5) No less restrictive means exist to achieve the overriding interest."

In his ruling, Wohlfeil says that the timing of investigations into Scott's service is enough to move the case forward.

"[Scott's] proffered employment evaluations were very complimentary, and suggested that [he] was an 'up and comer' with potential for advancement. However, starting primarily in mid-2014, Plaintiff began lodging complaints regarding perceived racial issues. Within a few months thereafter, he became the subject of criticism and investigations. This proximity in time is sufficient to demonstrate a causal connection such that [Scott] has satisfied his prima facie burden. The burden now shifts to city to demonstrate a legitimate reason for each instance of adverse employment action."

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

Great local skiing could be right around the corner

Wild surf can take away sand
Next Article

El Cajon Olaf Weighorst forgeries, Reader author's parents killed

Cali cartel smuggler on Harbor Drive, postal detectives busy in San Diego, robbery part of Mission Beach life, my crimes started in O.B., Teamster leader killed, the Amanda Gaeke mystery

The discrimination lawsuit brought by an African-American police sergeant that accuses the San Diego Police Department of racial discrimination and harassment will move forward, according to a Friday, April 29, court ruling.

Superior Court judge Joel Wohlfeil denied a motion submitted by attorneys for the city to seal records as well as for summary judgment of a January 2015 lawsuit from Sgt. Arthur Scott.

Scott joined the force in 2004. In the ten years after joining, Scott received numerous awards and accolades from his superiors. That changed in 2014 when he began complaining about racism inside the police force.

The allegations of racism included complaints that police instructors used racist materials during mandatory training sessions. One such item, as first reported by the Reader, was an early-1900s cartoon that ran in the San Diego Sun: it depicted San Diego's first African-American police officer, Frank McCarter, as "ape-like, carrying a large pistol and brandishing an oversize police baton."

Scott's attorneys also submitted documents showing San Diego police officers had complained over posters of President Obama and submitted complaints that there were "too many black supervisors" in the Southeastern Division and "too many black faces" on a mural at a police substation.

Shortly after Scott began submitting his complaints he was passed over for a promotion and then transferred to a different division. During that same time his superiors threatened to open an investigation into Scott's handling of a mentally unstable man who was brandishing a sword — the investigation never occurred. Scott was also accused of driving to his home while he was on duty. No follow-up action was taken.

But attorneys for the city asked that the training materials, complaints, and other evidence be kept from the public.

Judge Wohlfeil denied the request.

"[City] has not shown that...(1) There exists an overriding interest that overcomes the right of public access to the record; (2) The overriding interest supports sealing the record; (3) A substantial probability exists that the overriding interest will be prejudiced if the record is not sealed; (4) The proposed sealing is narrowly tailored; and (5) No less restrictive means exist to achieve the overriding interest."

In his ruling, Wohlfeil says that the timing of investigations into Scott's service is enough to move the case forward.

"[Scott's] proffered employment evaluations were very complimentary, and suggested that [he] was an 'up and comer' with potential for advancement. However, starting primarily in mid-2014, Plaintiff began lodging complaints regarding perceived racial issues. Within a few months thereafter, he became the subject of criticism and investigations. This proximity in time is sufficient to demonstrate a causal connection such that [Scott] has satisfied his prima facie burden. The burden now shifts to city to demonstrate a legitimate reason for each instance of adverse employment action."

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Targets: The Bogdanovich-Corman connection

It’s impossible to ignore the amount of thought and resourcefulness enmeshed in every frame
Next Article

Tamar Berk doesn’t need your permission

“I see other women do this, too.”
Comments
3

Three cheers for Judge Wohlfeil! Now, if only we could get the judge to talk to the police chief about the content of the body cams.

April 29, 2016

Those supporting San Diego's finest should also support Police equality especially within the ranks by Police Officals, Judge Wohlfeil decision will help insure that will occur. Serving as a Police Officer must be hard enough without having to worry about "friction" from fellow Officers or worse ones own Supervisors.

April 30, 2016

Shift never falls up

May 2, 2016

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Drinks All Around — Bartenders' drink recipes Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories Fishing Report — What’s getting hooked from ship and shore From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Outdoors — Weekly changes in flora and fauna Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Street Style — San Diego streets have style Surf Diego — Real stories from those braving the waves Theater — On stage in San Diego this week Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close