A Black Los Angeles County sheriff’s sergeant is suing the county, alleging he was subjected to retaliation for complaining of discrimination because of his race as well as the presence of members of the Banditos internal clique of deputies at the East Los Angeles Station.
Sgt. Reginald Hoffman‘s Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit alleges racial discrimination, failure to prevent discrimination, harassment and retaliation.
Hoffman further alleges he is a victim of whistleblower retaliation for speaking out against alleged discrimination, adding himself to the list of other department members who also have filed litigation claiming to be whistleblowers, including Lt. Joseph Garrido, Cmdr. Allen Castellano, former Assistant Sheriff Robin Limon and retired Chief LaJuana Haselrig. The plaintiff further maintains his complaints about the presence of the “Banditos” at the East Los Angeles Station ultimately caused 17 members of the alleged internal clique of deputies to be transferred.
“Sgt. Hoffman blew the whistle … about the gang’s illegal activity and continued dominance at the station,” the suit states. Hoffman seeks unspecified damages. An LASD representative did not immediately reply to a request for comment on the suit brought Thursday.
While at the East Los Angeles sheriff’s station, Hoffman supervised and devised the station’s tactical plans for the celebrations after the Dodgers’ National League Championship and World Series victories, the Lakers’ NBA Finals and the Rams’ Super Bowl win, according to the suit.
Although Sheriff Alex Villanueva is not a defendant in the suit, Hoffman’s complaint alleges the sheriff “has been waging a race war” against Black LASD members and has “engaged in grand scale racial discrimination” against Blacks who want to be hired.
Hoffman believes Villanueva “rigged the hiring process to hire more Latino deputies aimed clearly at the expense” of Black applicants in order to achieve a ratio more favorable to Latinos than Blacks, the suit states.
Hoffman took the lieutenants’ promotion exam in August 2021 and scored high marks, but was later told on appeal after being denied that he did not have enough time spent as a sergeant, the suit states. Hoffman believes that a Latino supervisor who has allegedly harassed him since 2019 because of the plaintiff’s race played a role in his being passed over for promotions to lieutenant and detective sergeant, the suit states.
Villanueva has ratified the Latino supervisor’s alleged misconduct by promoting him from captain to commander, according to the suit. The suit makes note of the recent audio recording of one former and two current Los Angeles City Council members and a union president, some of whom made racist statements about Blacks and others.
“Arguably, Villanueva and his inner circle have made worse racist statements that cut far deeper than those made in that infamous City Council meeting that has led to resignations,” the suit states.
Racism has “long permeated the culture in LASD, and racism will continue to thrive there after Villanueva leaves office, but Villanueva has inflamed it,” the suit alleges.