LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – A longtime Beverly Hills police captain announced Monday that he has settled a discrimination lawsuit against the city for $2.3 million.
Sixty-year-old Capt. Mark Rosen, who retired on Friday as part of the settlement, sued the city in 2016 alleging he was discriminated against because of his age and Jewish religion.
Rosen’s case had been scheduled to go to trial Monday in Los Angeles County Superior Court.
Speaking at a news conference Monday morning in downtown L.A., Rosen explained that while on a “personal level” he was pleased with and felt “vindicated” by the settlement, “on a professional level, I’m deeply saddened, disappointed and frustrated that the city of Beverly Hills continues to ignore and deny the problem that still exists at the Beverly Hills Police Department.”
“In our lawsuit we were able to demonstrate there were a number of insensitive comments made about Mark’s religion and his age, as well as about the religion and ages of others,” Rosen’s attorney Bradley Gage added.
After complaining about the “inappropriate conduct,” he was “denied promotional opportunities” and “transferred to an inferior assignment,” Gage said.
Rosen, who worked for five police chiefs during his BHPD career, alleged the discrimination was often subtle in nature, with remarks such as “you people” used to categorize the groups that he says suffered discrimination in the BHPD.
Rosen said he had high hopes when the city hired Police Chief Sandra Spagnoli in 2016, but that the remarks she allegedly made about Jews, Catholics and lesbians gave him pause.
“Needless to say, it was a complete disappointment,” Rosen said.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Spagnoli has faced at least 20 civil lawsuits or employment complaints of racial and sexual discrimination since taking over in 2016.
Spagnoli previously was the police chief for the Bay Area cities of Benicia and San Leandro.
“The city would not have had to settle a case like this if there was not a problem,” Rosen’s attorney Bradley Gage said.
The city issued the following statement Friday.
“While the City of Beverly Hills continues to deny allegations in the Mark Rosen and other lawsuits, a decision was made by the City’s insurance company to settle the lawsuit brought by Captain Rosen.
“Captain Rosen has retired from the Beverly Hills Police Department, effective today. Lieutenant Mike Hill will serve as Acting Captain of Administrative Services with the recruitment process beginning shortly.
“The Department has made excellent progress in implementing the changes suggested in a 2015 report by independent consultant, Management Partners. With increased staffing, improved overall morale and a more diverse workforce, the department is looking to the future.
“The City of Beverly Hills has always upheld its unwavering commitment to maintaining a respectful work environment free from harassment, retaliation and discrimination and will continue to do so.
“The safety of the community remains the top priority of the Beverly Hills Police Department.”
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)