LAPD officer Earl Wright has been awarded a $1.2 million settlement with the city of Los Angeles after accusing the LAPD of racial harassment.
He say a white supervisor and other officers continually subjected him to racist pranks and verbal abuse.
He specifically cited an incident where he asked his superior for permission to leave early; the white officer responded “Why? You gotta go pick watermelons?”
In another incident, Foster summoned Wright and his partner back in to the station from the field to celebrate Wright’s 20th year of service as an LAPD officer. With officers laughing and applauding, the lawsuit claimed, Foster then presented Wright with a cake that was topped with a piece of fried chicken and a slice of watermelon.
Wright said in court documents that supervisors throughout the Central Division station where he and Foster worked, including the captain who ran the division at the time, were aware of the crass behavior and did not stop it.
“They didn’t do anything to protect Earl,” said his attorney, Greg Smith.
Defense lawyers tried to claim that Wright laughed at these jokes, and engage and racist jokes and pranks himself. The jury, however, did not buy their argument.
Meanwhile, the LAPD says it has learned from the Wright incident and is cracking down on this kind of behavior.
Yet more evidence of pervasive racism in the LAPD.
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