Burbank will appeal ruling by U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals

Longstanding case involving police officer could be heard by Supreme Court.

October 11, 2013|By Alene Tchekmedyian,

The Burbank City Council authorized a petition Tuesday to appeal a ruling by the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals that a former Burbank police detective can sue the city for allegedly placing him on administrative leave for disclosing police misconduct.

In a 3-1 vote behind closed doors, in which Councilman David Gordon was the sole dissenter, the council signed off on plans to petition to the U.S. Supreme Court to review the case. Councilman Jess Talamantes was absent.

In August, an 11-judge panel ruled that Angelo Dahlia was protected by the First Amendment when he alleged misconduct by officers in the wake of a 2007 robbery at Porto’s Bakery in Burbank. Days after disclosing the abuse to Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department investigators, Dahlia was placed on administrative leave.


The ruling overruled a previous decision in which a three-judge federal panel dismissed Dahlia’s case against the city and fellow officers, ruling that he was not protected by the 1st Amendment because reporting police misconduct was his duty as an officer.

Dahlia reportedly witnessed fellow officers beat, choke and threaten a suspect with a gun in connection with the robbery and claims he was harassed, intimidated and threatened by colleagues after reporting the alleged wrongdoing.

City officials have until next month to file the petition to appeal.

“It’s up to the U.S. Supreme Court whether they’ll accept the case for review or not,” said City Attorney Amy Albano.

Gordon said he’d rather see the case go to trial, and noted that an appeal would result in further delays of an already longstanding matter.

A trial would “bring conclusion to the matter so that the city and the people of the city of Burbank can once again have a police department that is resurrected and restored to what it should be,” Gordon said. “My hope would be that the matter, at some point, is heard in an open manner, that the information, the accusations, charges, concerns, arguments, whatever is involved, can be put on the table and a jury of 12 can render a decision.”


Follow Alene Tchekmedyian on Google+ and on Twitter: @atchek.

Veronica Rocha contributed to this report.


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