Beverly Hills will shell out $2.3 million to settle a discrimination lawsuit lodged by a former high-ranking police officer against its police chief.
Chief Sandra Spagnoli, who has a nearly 33-year career in law enforcement, faces accusations of misconduct for allegedly calling yarmulkes worn by observant Jews “funny little hats,” asking if she had to “dress Mexican” when invited to dinner at a Latino employee’s home, and reacting with revulsion when she was told an employee was gay, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Other court documents allege that Spagnoli had sex with subordinate officers who were later rewarded with promotions.
Spagnoli was hired in 2016 as a “change agent” and received widespread praise from the city’s mayor and council members, for the aggressive reforms she planned to make. Now she herself is on the hot seat for allegations of misconduct.
Capt. Mark Rosen, who is Jewish, accused Spagnoli of harassment and workplace misconduct, denying him promotional opportunities based on his religion. According to Fox News, Rosen retired after the $2.3 million suit was settled in December, but said he fears for his colleagues.
“I am concerned for my co-workers I am leaving behind, the officers and civilians alike who continue to be victimized,” Rosen said.
Meanwhile Spagnoli faces 20 civil suits or employee complaints of racial and sexual discrimination, according to court records. She denies the allegations, calling them pushback due to the changes she’s making across the department.
“I’m disappointed at some of the personal attacks against me, particularly because I can tell you I love this community. I love being a key factor in public safety and making a difference,” Spagnoli said, according to Fox News. “It hasn’t been easy running the department while under fire from different directions.”
The city’s insurance company made the decision to settle Rosen’s lawsuit, according to a spokesman.