February 9, 2012

Updated: How to make a grown cop cry

Have you ever noticed how many policemen and firemen will stand up in court and swear that they, personally, are the world's biggest wimps when it comes to suffering endless horrors from psychologically "hostile work environments" down at the station? They make associate feminist studies professors seem stoic. Mostly, of course, it's black cops and firefighters looking for 7-figure payoffs as victims of discrimination, but whites are getting into the act, too. [A reader sends me a new story from Buffalo about white firemen getting $2.7 million for "emotional distress" in a Ricci-style case. I've added it below.]

From the San Francisco Chronicle:
Bizarre behavior recounted in Richmond racism suit 
by Kevin Fagan 
Between tales of one police captain dropping to all fours to yell "don't beat me" and black and white commanders angrily proclaiming they were being discriminated against, jurors got a stark depiction Thursday of a Richmond Police Department consumed with racial tensions in 2006 when Chris Magnus took over as chief. 
The revelations came as Magnus spent a second day testifying in a Contra Costa County Superior Court trial over a lawsuit claiming he had discriminated against seven high-ranking black officers. 
Plaintiffs' attorney Stephen Jaffe tried to make Magnus look like a disconnected leader who revealed racist bents in quips and favoritism, while the chief attempted to portray himself as working to dispel racial tensions that he found when he took the job. 
One of the most bizarre moments came when Magnus described an incident in which then-Capt. Cleveland Brown,

Was his dad a football fan? Isn't "Cleveland Brown" a character on Family Guy?
one of the commanders suing him, came into his office to complain that he didn't want then-Capt. Lori Ritter to become deputy chief.
Magnus said Brown had told him he thought Ritter - who, like Magnus, is white and a defendant in the trial - was a racist, and then had pantomimed his displeasure. 
"I remember him getting down on all fours and raising up his arms and saying, 'Don't beat me, Miss Lori!' " Magnus said. "It was kind of hard to tell if he was joking or if he was acting out a story. 
"I was floored by it," the chief told the jury. However, he added, "that was pretty typical for Cleveland. He was very animated, very loud, very extreme." 
He also said Brown had told him that "an African American captain shouldn't have to work for a white female." 
In their lawsuit, the black commanders contend it was Magnus who made racist remarks, telling plaintiff Lt. Arnold Threets to imagine Ritter standing over Brown, cracking a whip and telling him to dance. 
After the exchange with Brown a few months after Magnus took the job, the chief made Ritter his deputy. He later demoted Brown to lieutenant. 
Magnus also described a hellish staff retreat in Napa nine months into his job, in which he tried to get black and white commanders to discuss racial tensions and cliques in the department.

Napa Valley sure can be hellish. I heard there's this one resort in Napa that once served a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon at 72 degrees, because it thought that "room temperature" means room temperature in a modern American building not room temperature in a drafty old French chateau.
Instead, he said, Brown and others remained hostile and said they didn't want to cooperate with his new, community-minded policing style. 
The chief said he was "upset" by the tenor of the retreat and told his officers that "if you want to engage in bias, engage in cliques, then you need to work somewhere else, or I will make your life a living hell." 
The suing commanders have contended that such statements created a racially hostile workplace.

More from The Cleveland Brown Show ... Richmond Confidential reports
Lt. Cleveland Brown testified that he never heard the Richmond police chief or deputy chief use racial slurs, but that they made remarks that were offensive to African Americans. 
Former Deputy Chief Lori Ritter “told me to tap dance,” Brown said from the witness stand. “That is racially offensive.” ...
As the defense team has during cross examination of all the plaintiffs, Spellberg delved into the allegations that Magnus made racially-insensitive comments about Juneteenth, the holiday commemorating the announcement of the abolition of slavery. 
Brown testified that Magnus asked whether Juneteenth was a “holiday for killing people” during a 2006 deployment strategy meeting with several African American police leaders. 
Brown said he did not express umbrage at the comment, but interjected to briefly explain what the holiday is and what it celebrates. Another officer wasn’t so diplomatic. 
“Lt. Ricky Clark said ‘There goes a lawsuit,” Brown testified.

While it's emotionally grueling to be a black cop in Northern California, it's emotionally distressing to be a white fireman in Buffalo, NY:
Twelve white Buffalo firefighters will get an average of $230,430 each in back pay, pension benefits and damages -- a total of almost $2.77 million -- for emotional distress because the City of Buffalo illegally passed them over for promotions, a state judge has ruled. 
The 12 men sued the city in 2007, contending that the city illegally allowed two promotional lists to expire because minority firefighters had fared poorly on civil service exams. 
The case was affected by a 2009 U.S. Supreme Court decision that said city officials cannot void the results of civil service exams simply because they are afraid of being sued. 
The ruling on damages came 15 months after State Supreme Court Justice John A. Michalek ruled that the city illegally failed to promote based on its 2005 and 2006 tests for racial reasons. 
... Margerum was awarded $30,000 for "emotional damages," and Fahey was awarded $25,000. Each of the other firefighters got $20,000 for that. 
Depending on his years of service and individual situation, each firefighter also was awarded between $49,859 and $528,706 in "general damages." 
... According to Fleming, being passed over for promotions that they had earned was a "nightmare" that caused years of anguish for many of his clients. ... 
Fahey said the case pointed to "the true nature of reverse discrimination: When it happens to blacks, everybody is correctly upset about it, but when it happens to whites, nobody cares." 
In Michalek's ruling, he said some of the firefighters suffered from emotional distress, depression and self-medication issues. The judge wrote that some of the firefighters lost their enthusiasm for their jobs and became "bitter and cynical" because they felt they had legitimately earned promotions but were illegally passed over.


Tom Regan said...

Moral of the story: when it comes to resolving racial animus, beer summits work better than wine summits.
Less wining, more whining

Anonymous said...

Behind that tough exterior, who knew that blacks were really crying on the inside?

We simply must do something about this.

Maya said...

Is tap dancing a traditionally black activity? I didn't know thins.

MC said...

"Brown testified that Magnus asked whether Juneteenth was a 'holiday for killing people' during a 2006 deployment strategy meeting with several African American police leaders."


Traveller said...

I am glad whites starting learn the game.

It is much easier get money from tribunals than working, in a society where work ethic is unknown, talent is considered racism, merit will never be acknowledged, your happiness makes your neighbour your enemy.

Better late than never.

eh said...

Once when walking along a seldom walked along portion of Ohio Avenue in Richmond I passed a parked car where a black woman whom I took to be a prostitute was giving a white guy a blow job. I will never forget the sheepish look on that guy's face.

For that and other reasons I'm not surprised to hear there are additional problems in Richmond. Even with the police. A city that bad cannot have too much right about it.

bjdubbs said...

Firefighter sounds like a truly miserable job. Holed up in a firehouse all day long, with nothing to do but nurse grudges and play office politics. At least in most offices the politics is an extracurricular activity, but since firefighters don't do anything all day long, office politics is the main show.

PA said...

"whites are getting into the act, too."


Anonymous said...

Plaintiffs' attorney Stephen MacJaffe

Gotta love those Scots-Irishmen in the plaintiffs' bar - never ones to file any frivolous lawsuits - far too principled for that sort of thing.

rightsaidfred said...

Public servants? Ha! More akin to looters.

Carol said...

Clearly they were victims of bullying!

Anonymous said...

My guess is that in a racially mixed group at work, there is a lot of give and take, joking and generally both sides participate, but it seems when there is some need to cash-in or there is some falling out between parties that is unrelated to race, the joking of the past gets dredged up.

Mr. Anon said...

The Richmond police department holds "retreats" at Napa resorts? I guess any money they spend on that is money they can't spend on pepper-spray, robots, humvees, or drone aircraft.

Does anyone still think that modern urban american police departments exist to "protect and serve" the citizenry anymore?

Shouting Thomas said...

My mother has taken up suing people now that she's retired.

She's already won a couple of nice settlements.

Looks like the wave of the future. I'm certainly tired of working.

Anonymous said...

Having worked with lots of blacks in the past I would take anything they say with a bag of salt, especially in a case like this where they're expecting to cash in. Time and again I saw them fabricate entire narratives and sound very convincing in so doing. They were usually poor workers.
Discrimination lawsuit plaintiffs always try to make their case through the media as a way of exerting pressure before the case even comes to trial, if it ever does. It is always made to sound good but the reality is usually quite different.

Jef said...

If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.

Anonymous said...

Blacks bitch and whine all the time, but they are by far the most insensitive, rude, hateful, and vulgar people on Earth. They are like Al Sharpton, a bundle of hostility toward others who get so touchy when people say stuff about him.

Blacks will act loud and rude, but if you say they act loud and rude, you're 'racist'. It's the same old song.

Anonymous said...

An update to Andy Warhol's claim: in the future everyone will be able to sue for discrimination.

beowulf said...

He also said Brown had told him that "an African American captain shouldn't have to work for a white female."
Well that's just common sense. :o)

There's a story to be written about the differences between police departments run by political appointees and those run by elected officials (e.g. LAPD vs LA County Sheriffs Dept).
I imagine there's a lot more political correctness when you have to answer to a bunch of idiot city councilman.

Paul Mendez said...

...Magnus asked whether Juneteenth was a “holiday for killing people”...

Sadly, too many white men will engage in childish, passive-aggressive wisecracks like this, but will never engage in constructive opposition to their cultural dispossession and marginalization because they consider themselves "too smart" to fight a losing battle against "the way things are."

Kylie said...

"'Magnus also described a hellish staff retreat in Napa nine months into his job, in which he tried to get black and white commanders to discuss racial tensions and cliques in the department.'

Napa Valley sure can be hellish. I heard there's this one resort in Napa that once served a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon at 72 degrees, because it thought that "room temperature" means room temperature in a modern American building not room temperature in a drafty old French chateau."

It was the people, not the place, that made the staff retreat hellish.

If you can be so flippantly dismissive of the friction involved in a work force of blacks and whites, then lucky you. His description recalls to me my efforts to get blacks and whites to work together when I managed campus properties. It was indeed hellish.

Spelling Nazi said...

my efforts to get blacks and whites to work together

You mis-spelled "my efforts to get blacks to work".

SGI said...

Blacks really have the lawsuit angle down pat. Once in a basketball game I asked the woman guarding me to let go of my shirt. She called me an MF'er, the rest surrounded me, and they told me I was lucky they didn't sue me.

Anonymous said...

The white privilege displayed by you people makes me wretch.

gumployee resource services said...

One thing for sure, one way to create more jobs is to create more opportunities to litigation. I once worked for a 'non-profit' company that offered advice/programs to helping 'traumatized' employees in other companies. (I did low-level work and didn't stay long, so don't blame me.) It offered advice on dealing with workers with problems with depression, drug problems, etc, etc, etc, anything you can think of under the sun.

Personally, I thought many of the problems were nonsensical and more personal than work-related. I mean if someone's a drunken bum or junkie, it's his or her fault; just fire the fool, I say!
Also, many of the advice and programs seemed so lame, ineffective, or just plain bogus. It was all written and carried out in 'social science-ese', but it was mostly BS. Sort of like pretending to do stuff without really doing stuff.

So, I asked one of the people who worked there... 'why do companies hire our company for advice, programs, and stuff when so much of what we offer is so lame?'
And psst, psst, the guy told me it's because companies wanna have an excuse if they ever get sued by their employees. If they have problems with employees and must fire them and if the fired employees sue for wrongful firing, the companies that used our services can say, 'look, the worker had such-and-such problem and we did everything to take care of him/her; we hired so-and-so company for advice and programs and etc to help the employee, but he/she still had problems, and so we had to let him/her go...'

So, it was basically a shakedown racket. Not that our company willfully shook down other companies. Rather, the mere fact that other companies feared lawsuits made them hire our services to use as cover.

Kylie said...

"[quoting me]my efforts to get blacks and whites to work together'

You mis-spelled 'my efforts to get blacks to work'."

How right you are. Even when the blacks got to work, they seldom got down to doing any work. And any work they did do generally had to be redone by whites.

This goes for any job I've held where blacks and whites shared a work environment. It's galling to do your work and someone else's and to know that other person is being paid for their work when you're the one who did it, as well as doing your own.

Trew said...

I'm starting to wonder if some of these cop and fire-whiner "discrimination" and "hostile work place" cases are actually all elaborate schemes concocted by both sides to get big payouts that are then shared among the conspirators. Some of the actions of some of these high-level 20+ year officers is just incredulous. If these public safety leaders are the best of the best then police and fire departments are a joke. They act like first graders and still keep their well-paid jobs.

Oh, as an aside. One Deputy Fire Chief in my mid-size FL city (pop. 75K) receives an annual pension of $110K. His salary upon retirement was $95K. Oh, it gets better - he's not really retired. The City has a program where the worker can "retire" and have his pension be deposited into a special account (at 6.5% guaranteed interest) but keep working and receiving a regular salary. Some call it double-dipping. After 5 years of this arrangement, the employee must really stop working and can roll over the money from the special account to an IRA. The aforementioned Deputy Fire Chief will be able to roll over about $600K. Oh, and he'll be just 55 y/o at that time.

anony-mouse said...

Anybody know who gets priority when a city goes bust-city worker pensioners or people who have won legal judgements before the bandruptcy?

Its an ill wind...

Anonymous said...

The white privilege displayed by you people makes me wretch.

I agree, you are one. We whites may have our faults, but at least we aren't as unfortunate and pitiable as you. But surely as a conscientious liberal you will do your best to assist others, even under such trying personal circumstances. There really is a never-ending supply of unfortunate, suffering victims who need aid; their state is positively wretched...

B322 said...

The white chocolate possessed by you people makes me wretch.

Come on, people, it's like butter and sugar that someone has whispered "cocoa" to in a soft voice.

Anonymous said...

What white privilege? What people? May I remind you that nearly all true homeless people are white. Some privilege.

rho said...

Cops are civil servants granted with a lot of authority, and with a relatively higher degree of responsibility. That is, a cop is expected to mediate a wide range of civil disobedience, and yet they're paid the wage of a city or state official that maintains a clean water supply. And they run a reasonable chance of being shot at, just because, hey it's the po-po.

If you didn't see that causing trouble, you need to hand in your Psychology 401 degree.

To those of whom the most is expected, you either need to pay them the most, or you need to expect less of them. Either cops need to be the best lawyers in the world, or we need to stop expecting them to be the best lawyers in the world.

B322 said...

Well said, rho. I wish you or somebody who knows more about being a cop would have a blog.

Anonymous said...

If only non-government workers could or would sue like this for racial discrimination. How many times was I told in the early 1990s by potential employeers "You are the wrong color"? I just let it go because Amurrica is the land of Individualism, Capitalism, and Opportunity, not to mention Apple Pie and Motherhood. What a crock. We have been shafted, hard.

Anonymous said...

As a Canadian, i have found blacks to be the biggest whiners and complainers in the world. Those from the West Indies seem to be the worst.

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:59 Your eyes must be deceiving you because it is stated that the sunshine people grew up under the Sun so have a natural warmth whereas the snow people grew up in Snowland and are naturally cold.

Udolpho.com said...

"Behind that tough exterior, who knew that blacks were really crying on the inside?"

They mostly cry on the outside, as blacks are more emotional (so much so that calling them emotional is forbidden according to PC rules that no stereotype is ever true).