4 LAPD officers suing department involving officer-only sports team – NBC Los Angeles

California

An LAPD officer who joined three other officers in a lawsuit against the City of Los Angeles over alleged sexual assaults during hazing rituals that he said happened during police league football practices said he felt compelled to take action after more than a decade of silence.

“I didn’t want to die with this on my conscience. I realized that whatever happens, happens, and I’m comfortable with that,” the officer told the NBC4 I-Team in his first public remarks since the lawsuit was filed in late December 2023.

He said he first reported the incidents as a whistleblower in early 2023 and filed a government claim in October 2023.

“As a police officer, why am I afraid to report what happened to me to the cops?” the officer said during a telephone interview.

“How can I expect any civilian or citizens to [report crimes]? It was an ethical decision in many regards,” he said of his choice to take the case go court.

NBC4 agreed not to publicly identify the officer.

He and the three other officers filed the case anonymously due to the nature of the allegations and fear of professional and personal retaliation, their attorney explained.

The case names both the city and the football team, the LAPD Centurion Corporation as defendants and makes allegations of sexual battery, sexual harassment, retaliation and negligence.

“This is a lawsuit alleging that the city of LA and the LAPD fostered an environment where their football team … engaged in ritualized and sexualized abuse and hazing of rookie football players for a number of seasons,” said attorney Michael Morrison, who represents all of the plaintiff officers.

The Centurion organization, which IRS records show was previously considered a non-profit, did not respond to voicemail and email requests for comment on the allegations described in the complaint.

NBC4 tried to contact a representative of the group at the corporate address listed in its latest public tax filing, but it was a private mail box store in Granada Hills.

Emails sent to members of the team’s board, who are active-duty LAPD officers, were not returned as of late Friday.

The LAPD said it does not generally comment on lawsuits, but now-former Chief Michel Moore said earlier this week the department took the officers’ hazing allegations seriously.

“We’re going to conduct a full investigation,” Moore said Tuesday two days before his own retirement.

“I have every confidence that investigation will turn over every rock, or every bit of information possible to determine the validity or the truth of what’s been alleged,” Moore said.

The Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office said Friday it does not comment on pending litigation.

According to the lawsuit the four officers said they experienced separate, but similar, hazing rituals in 2006, 2007, and 2009 following team practices that took place on weekends at the athletic field at Bishop Mora Salesian High School in Boyle Heights.

The victim officers said in the suit they were led into a darkened locker room, held inside by 30-40 other officer-players, and were forced to strip naked.

The first officer listed in the lawsuit, identified as DOE 1, said other officer-players yelled homophobic slurs, demanded to see his genitals and was forced into a trash barrel filled with ice water. The officer said in the complaint that he felt someone try to put an object in his anus.

The fourth officer in the complaint, DOE 4, said he was also punched in the genitals during the ritual he experienced in 2007.

The principal of Salesian High School did not return a message requesting information on whether the Centurions still use the school for its events.

Read original source here.

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