Yesterday, a Los Angeles County jury rejected a former Long Beach police officer’s claim that he was fired because of his race. Quincy Miles, who is African-American, alleged in his lawsuit that the Long Beach Police Department discriminated and harassed him based on his race, and that the Department eventually terminated his employment in retaliation for making complaints of racial discrimination. He further alleged that various Internal Affairs’ investigations into job related misconduct was actually only a pretext for a racially motivated firing.
Following a six week trial, however, the jury returned a verdict in favor of the City. After only five hours of deliberation, the jury determined that the Police Department’s investigation and termination of Miles was justified, and not based on any retaliatory or discriminatory motive.
During the trial, the City presented evidence that Miles had a number of serious, documented performance issues, and argued that he only filed his discrimination complaint with the City’s Equal Employment Office because he feared that his misconduct might lead to his termination. In fact, while the Police Department’s Internal Affairs Division investigated Miles, the City hired an independent agency to investigate Miles’ claims of discrimination. That independent investigator found Miles’ discrimination complaint unfounded.
The jury specifically discounted Miles’ contention that he was harassed, or that the Police Department retaliated against him for complaining to the City’s EEO officer. Before jury deliberations, the judge dismissed Miles’ claim of discrimination, finding that no evidence supported this count.
The case is entitled Quincy Miles v. The City of Long Beach, Los Angeles Sup. Ct. Case No. BC475897. Haleh R. Jenkins of the Long Beach City Attorney’s Office tried the case for the City of Long Beach. Rodney Diggs of Ivie, McNeill & Wyatt and Damon Brown of Sanders Roberts & Jewett represented Miles.