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LA settles two gay bias suits in LAPD

Chief William Bratton supports openly gay officers serving. He credits his sensitivity on the issue to the fact that he has a gay sister.

The idea that there is a history of active discrimination in the LAPD against openly gay officers is certainly no shock; that’s one police department with a terrible reputation for bigotry. The only course of action for the aggrieved parties is to sue the state and waste taxpayers money because some officers have their panties in a bunch over letting openly gay officers of merit work and advance among them. (LA Times via

Officer Alan Weiner, 45, who alleged he was harassed while serving as a training officer in the Van Nuys Division, would receive about $450,000, according to his lawyer and a spokesman for the city attorney’s office.

Sgt. Robert Duncan, a Medal of Valor winner who alleged his career was destroyed after fellow officers learned he was gay, would receive more than $200,000, his attorney said.

Both settlements must be approved by the City Council.

If approved, they would bring to nearly $3 million the total amount the city has agreed to pay to eight gay officers. In 1993, the LAPD agreed to a court settlement mandating a wide range of personnel and training changes designed to produce a discrimination-free workplace.

“To me, it was very clear that Alan was singled out over a series of years because of his sexual orientation. That’s wrong and it’s also illegal,” said Brad Gage, Weiner’s attorney. “When a police department breaks the law, that’s especially outrageous.

“The department is learning slowly that it has to treat everybody absolutely equal.”

Jon Cantor, Duncan’s attorney, said the LAPD’s efforts to end discrimination against gays have been inadequate. “A gay male police officer absolutely should not apply to work for LAPD. He will not be treated fairly,” Cantor said.

An LAPD spokesman declined to comment. At a national police chiefs conference in November, LAPD Chief William J. Bratton said gay officers in Los Angeles have been forced to sue the department to end discrimination against them.

For gay members of the organization to make change, they have had to engage in lawsuits,” Bratton said. “Lawsuits have forced the department to do things it should be willing to do on its own.”

Bratton said the department has pushed forward on issues related to gay and lesbian officers.

“We’ve come a long way in a short time,” he said. “As we continue, there are going to be bumps in the road, there are going to be curves and detours that we are going to have to take. But I think the most significant thing is that the journey has begun.”

At a seminar during the convention on ending discrimination against gay cops, Bratton said that he was sensitive to the issue because he has a sister who is a lesbian.

The department has no high-ranking, openly gay officer in its ranks. The one bright spot is that Chief William Bratton has the issue on his radar — again for personal reasons — because his sister is gay. It proves, yet again, why coming out is the single most important step a gay person can take. That is what the Right fears — that too many people will find out they know and love someone that is gay — and it will change minds that may have otherwise been resistant to tolerance.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding