A former Burbank deputy police chief was awarded $1.29 million Monday after a jury found that he was fired for speaking out against racial discrimination within the police department, the Associated Press reports.
The amount going to William "Bill" Taylor accounts for lost wages and pension payments dating back to June 2010. Taylor's attorney, Gregory W. Smith, who said the city spent hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars "to create a sham investigation to justify the termination of officers that committed no wrongdoing," told the Los Angeles Times that he will now seek reinstatement for Taylor as deputy chief.
City officials maintain that their termination of Taylor was lawful and in the best interests of the city. In a statement, City Attorney Amy Albano said that the city is "obviously disappointed with the decision" and "will be looking at all appropriate options about how to move forward," the Times reports.
Taylor sued the city in 2009, claiming that he was fired because he informed the city and former police chief about concerns of discrimination and sexual harassment and because he pressed for an outside investigation into an alleged robbery at the station headquarters, La Canada Valley Sun reports.
The city claimed that it fired Taylor for lying during an investigation into how a 2007 robbery at Porto's Bakery was handled.
After the Porto's burglary investigation, approximately 10 officers were terminated in 2010. Taylor's case is the first of the terminations to come to trial and, as Burbank Beyond reports, the city has already spent millions of dollars on legal representation and investigations.
The amount of lawsuits the city faces is unknown as officers who were fired in 2010 are still waiting for their arbitration hearing.