City Settles Another Civil Rights Lawsuit for $499,800

By: 
Stephen Downing

In a March 9 press release civil rights attorney Narine Mkrtchyan of Glendale announced that a settlement had been reached in the federal civil rights lawsuit, Williams v. City of Long Beach #19-05929.

Mkrtchyan said, “The city has agreed to resolve all claims by Plaintiff Christopher Williams for a total of $499,800.

Mkrtchyan added that the main defendant, LBPD officer Dedier Reyes, was also arrested in an unrelated case for fabrication of reports and perjury on Dec. 3, 2021.

The unrelated case occurred one month prior to the incident in which Officer Reyes “maliciously broke the arm of Williams causing permanent injuries,” she said.

Nkrchyan said that during the detention of Williams, Reyes and other officers “willfully fabricated probable cause for arrest, falsely claimed Williams was seen to have punched someone to the ground and in a conspiratorial cover-up with his fellow officers, denied he had any physical contact with Williams and denied any force was used.”

The attorney reported that discovery in the case revealed that “Reyes had an abysmal record history of use of force incidents and citizen complaints against similar victims, most of whom (like Williams) were African American.”

She said, “When William’s complained to the LBPD about the incident the “Department further engaged in a cover-up of the incident and failed to discipline Reyes and his fellow co-defendants.”

Reyes Should Not Have Been on Patrol

In February 2018 detectives discovered Reyes’ lies and false reports related to the first incident, but rather than administratively terminate the officer at that time, he was allowed to remain on the street pending a two-year review by the district attorney for the criminal issues surrounding the misconduct.

One month later, Reyes broke William’s arm and lied about it.

The LBPD failed to provide documents during discovery in the Williams case that involved the Reyes’ prior false arrest and falsification of reports until two years later, when the district attorney announced that the officer and his probationary partner at the time – David Salcedo – would be prosecuted on felony charges related to the case.

It was shortly after the DA’s announcement that the LBPD terminated Reyes.

At the time the Beachcomber asked the LBPD to explain the department’s justification for “tolling” the case, recognizing that the facts supporting termination had not changed in the two years they allowed him to remain on patrol.

The LBPD did not respond.

Beachcomber Sues the City for Records

Multiple Beachcomber investigations established that when the Williams’ lawsuit was filed, the LBPD’s Internal Affairs Division conducted an incompetent investigation and attempted to cover up the entire matter.

After multiple fabricated stonewalls by the city attorney, this newspaper sued the city for refusing to release related documents as required by law.

The city eventually agreed to settled the lawsuit, provided (most of the) records requested and paid the Beachcomber’s attorney fees in the amount of $30,000.

When the LBPD Internal Affairs Division released the documents the commander in charge withheld a key document that eventually proved the LBPD cover-up, incompetence and systemic corruption.

The Beachcomber identified the attempted cover-up though investigation and made a demand for the document through the city attorney’s office.

The document was turned over without comment and the Beachcomber subsequently published a series of articles exposing the corrupt practices of the LBPD and the city attorney’s office.

Nkrchyan Calls for Federal Consent Decree

In a March 10 interview with the Beachcomber following her press release William’s attorney offered the following statement:

“This case is the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the depth of corruption and cover-up that we revealed in every step of this case. It is no surprise that the LBPD has been found to be near the bottom when rating police departments in California.

“The management of the department contributes to the kind of police misconduct we exposed in this case and the engineering of the cover-ups and lies we experienced coming from the top echelon of the LBPD serves to support the need for extensive reform in that department.

“I call for the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice to investigate the LBPD and place its operations under a consent decree overseen by a monitor who reports to a federal judge.

“It is time that the corruption within this police department is fully exposed and reformed. A free society with democratic principles cannot endure corruption in law enforcement for so long because it erodes all confidence in the functions of government.

Attorney Fees

Two law firms were employed by the city attorney to defend the lawsuit. 

The Beachcomber will report on the cost to the city when a response to this newspaper’s PRA is provided.

 

Stephen Downing is a resident of Long Beach and a retired LAPD deputy chief of police.

stephen.beachcomber@gmail.com

 

Between September 2019 and March 10, 2022 the Beachcomber has published 13 articles reporting on the events, discoveries and exposures surrounding the Williams lawsuit. The 12 that preceded this article are listed here in chronological order:

9/11/19 BREAKING NEWS: BEACHCOMBER SUES LBPD

https://beachcomber.news/content/breaking-news-beachcomber-sues-lbpd

9/26/19 FRUSTRATION WITH DISHONESTY

https://beachcomber.news/content/frustration-dishonesty

6/8/2020 WHAT ARE THE COPS CITY MANAGER AND CITY ATTORNEY HIDING?

https://beachcomber.news/content/what-are-cops-city-manager-and-city-attorney-hiding

7/17/20 CITY ATTORNEY EVADES FULL TRANSPARENCY OF IACP REPORT

https://beachcomber.news/content/city-attorney-evades-full-transparency-iacp-report

7/22/20 CITY ATTORNEY BACKS DOWN ON CONDITIONAL RELEASE OF IACP REPORT

https://beachcomber.news/content/city-attorney-backs-down-conditional-release-iacp-report

1/26/21 CITY SETTLES BEACHCOMBER LAWSUIT

https://beachcomber.news/content/city-settles-beachcomber-lawsuit

2/11/21 LAWSUIT EXPOSES LBPD INTERNAL AFFAIRS CORRUPTION

https://beachcomber.news/content/lawsuit-exposes-lbpd-internal-affairs-corruption

11/23/21 CITY CONTRACTS HIRED GUNS TO DEFEND INTERNAL CORRUPTION – PART ONE

https://beachcomber.news/content/city-attorney-contracts-hired-guns-defend-internal-corruption

12/2/21 CITY ATTORNEY CONTRACTS HIRED GUNS TO DEFEND INTERNAL CORRUPTION – PART TWO

https://beachcomber.news/content/city-attorney-contracts-hired-guns-defend-internal-corruption-0

12/5/21 CITY ATTORNEY MISCONDUCT EXPOSED BY LBPD CRIMINAL CHARGES

https://beachcomber.news/content/city-attorney-misconduct-exposed-lbpd-criminal-charges

12/16/21 TWO LBPD OFFICERS ARRESTED, CRIMINALLY CHARGED

https://beachcomber.news/content/two-lbpd-officers-arrested-criminally-charged

12/30/21 LBPD IA COMMANDER EXPOSED IN STONEWALL

https://beachcomber.news/content/lbpd-ia-commander-exposed-stonewall

1/6/22 LBPD FAILS TO PROTECT PUBLIC FROM ROGUE OFFICERS

https://beachcomber.news/content/lbpd-fails-protect-public-rogue-officers

 

Category:

Comments

Again no police accountable! and the taxpayer is left to pay for more police corruption. The corruption and incompetence of the PD administration is exposed and the clowns that were elected to stop this are all joining in. This behavior will continue because the entire city of Long Beach is a criminal organization, bought and paid for by the unions. This is a corrupt city, run by incompetent clowns. SMH

Long Beach settling for $499,800 means nothing to Long Beach management. That's peanuts. I was in a meeting with 30 other people when a very high ranking Long Beach city official in the meeting was told of a $10 million mistake the city would have to correct. The city official's response was "Its just taxpayers money." The city employees in the room laughed. I spoke up and proclaimed "I happen to be one of those taxpayers you are joking about." The city official looked at me but didn't apologize. He just shrugged his shoulders.

A settlement means NOTHING to the Long Beach Police Department or any city worker. It doesn't impact them or their budget or their continued misconduct. What needs to be done is the settlements need to be taken out of the police budget. $499,800 taken from the budget might mean two fewer cops are hired by the department. That's $499,800 less overtime cops would earn.

Alone, $499,800 may not mean much. However LBPD literally settles $10 million per year out of court because of their misconduct. Taking that $10 million directly out of the police departments own budget might encourage the department to self-police their own misconduct ... for once.

The LBPOA appears to have a substantial war chest to invest in political campaigns. Instead of playing king-makers they need to purchase insurance for their members, or the police officers themselves need to purchase individual insurance. Bottom line, no insurance, no job.

Long Beach misconduct complaints would barely exist if police officers were required to carry at their expense their own malpractice insurance like doctors. Settlement payments would be paid by each officer's malpractice insurance rather than Long Beach taxpayers. Officers with high misconduct complaints would be forced to resign because of their higher cost for their malpractice insurance. Police officers would finally have some reason to not commit misconduct.

Police Scorecard (below link) is an organization that evaluates and compares police departments nationwide using data from state and federal databases, public records requests to local police departments, and media reports. In 2020, Long Beach’s Police Department was ranked nearly the WORST in the Nation based on use of force, arrests for low level offenses, solving murder cases, holding officers accountable and spending on overall policing. Only 4 out of 500 police agencies rated worse than the Long Beach Police Department. This comes despite Long Beach spending more per capita residents than all but 27 other police departments.

Out of 500 police agencies nationwide, only 7 police departments paid more per capita residents on police settlements than the Long Beach Police Department. Over the past 4 years, the Long Beach Police Department have averaged $4 million per year in paid settlements.

941 misconduct complaints were reported against the Long Beach Police Department over the past 4 years, ranking it in the top 20 nationwide for the number of complaints received. Incredibly, exactly zero of those 941 misconduct complaints were sustained, forcing the complainants to file law suits.

Out of 500 police agencies nationwide, only 15 police departments had more shootings per arrest than the Long Beach Police Department.

The Long Beach Police Department was ranked second to last in the nation for low-level police outcomes, requiring more use of force for low level arrests than all police departments nationwide except for Chicago.

Out of 500 police agencies, only 3 rated worse than the Long Beach Police Department for their use of force, including police tasers, batons, K-9s, strangleholds, pepper spray and officer involved shootings.

The Long Beach Police Department is among 120 police agencies nationwide that claims to have banned neck restraint chokeholds in 2019 following widespread protests over the murder of George Floyd. Yet Long Beach was still rated the 4th highest in its use of chokeholds in 2020, a year AFTER chokeholds were supposedly banned.

https://policescorecard.org/findings

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