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FBI probes Police Dept.

L.A. County Sheriff's Department has also been looking into a range of claims filed against Burbank police.

October 02, 2009|By Christopher Cadelago

CITY HALL — Four days after the city released a statement calling the latest lawsuit filed against its Police Department “baseless and disingenuous,” Mayor Gary Bric on Tuesday said the FBI was investigating allegations of misconduct within the ranks.

He also announced that the Burbank Police Department was being investigated by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, which was to turn over its findings to the county district attorney’s office, and that the city had brought in its own outside attorney to review the allegations.

Seven current and former members of the Burbank Police Department have filed lawsuits since May, claiming everything from unfair demotion and retaliation, to sexual harassment and racial discrimination.

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The City Council had remained silent on the legal action building against the city, but Bric on Tuesday blew the lid off the investigations as a way to reassure the public that “the City Council is taking every step possible to make sure all of the issues are identified” and “dealt with in a manner that ensures they are never repeated.”

“These are all very serious allegations, and I think it is clear to everyone that the Police Department is facing some major challenges,” he said at the meeting.

Last week, Capt. Bill Taylor filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court claiming he was unfairly demoted after pushing for internal investigations into allegations of officer misconduct.

It was the latest in a string of legal woes for the department.

A former decorated Japanese American police detective sued the department in July, alleging he was subjected to racial discrimination and retaliation before being unlawfully fired. Attorneys for Christopher Lee Dunn also filed a second lawsuit claiming that City Atty. Dennis Barlow and his deputy disclosed private personnel records to the Burbank Leader “and other members of the press and general public.”

And in May, four officers and one lieutenant filed a lawsuit alleging racial discrimination and sexual harassment.

The influx of lawsuits prompted the Police Commission to meet more frequently.

Department and outside agencies had thoroughly investigated the claims long before the lawsuits were filed.

“In addition to these investigations, the FBI has been conducting their own investigation into these matters, and we are cooperating with their inquiries to the city,” he said.

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