Thursday, September 27, 2012
Court of Appeal Approves of Firing Misbehaving Police Officer
By a MetNews Staff Writer
Court of Appeal for this district yesterday denied an appeal of a police officer who contested his firing despite numerous instances of misconduct including driving under the influence of alcohol.
Former Long Beach police officer Samuel McKenzie found no sympathy from Div. Five of the appeals court, which affirmed Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Joseph E. Di Loreto’s denial of a writ of mandate, sought to overturn a determination by the Long Beach Civil Service Commission.
Acting Presiding Justice Orville Armstrong said, in an opinion that was not certified for publication:
“We see no abuse of discretion. Appellant was involved in a very serious incident, in which he endangered himself and the public by driving while under the influence, at a high blood alcohol level, then fled from law enforcement, endangering those officers, too. Further, he had a history of policy violations arising from his interactions with the public, despite having been disciplined.”
The policy violations were comprised of:
•Making a traffic stop and asking the motorist for her phone number, giving her his cell phone number, and asking her out for coffee;
•In two instances, attempting to convert “an on-duty contact” into an off-duty dating relationship—and as to one of the women, there were instances over a three-month period when he slept on her couch while on duty;
•He became involved in a dispute with an ex-girlfriend her current boyfriend, resulting in a call to the California Highway Patrol and a criminal investigation by Long Beach police.
James E. Trott represented McKenzie and Long Beach City attorney Robert E. Shannon and his senior deputy, Christina L. Checel, argued for the city.
Copyright 2012, Metropolitan News Company