HATE CRIMES IN GLENDALE Prompt action
THE WHITE PLACE TO DO BUSINESS
Laurette Yates, owner of the Glen-Deli at 204 ½ Brand Boulevard, had her establishment vandalized with derogatory graffiti. This happened frequently, twice a month for almost a year. At a certain point, Yates gave up on trying to clean the vulgar words off the doors of her deli. Some marks stayed written for three weeks before an anti-graffiti worker came to clean it. On top of the vandalism, there were incidents where passersby hollered racial slurs at her, twice weekly. One patron dined in the deli and refused to pay for his sandwich. This refusal to pay was based on her race. One night Yates found her tires slashed. “I had no idea Glendale was like this,” she said.
PRIDE AND PREJUDICE IN GLENDALE
A letter in the publication the following week from a community member, Michael E. McGlothen, challenged the mayor. McGlothen, a Black bank employee, had won a discrimination suit against a Glendale landlord who refused to rent him an apartment. In August of that year, McGlothen went to rent an apartment in Glendale, and was told it was unavailable. He then sent a Latino co-worker to inquire about the room, and the woman told the co-worker they could move in immediately. McGlothen won a $1,000 settlement in the discrimination complaint. When he told one of his co-workers about the incident, they responded, “Welcome to Glendale.”
In his response letter in the paper, McGlothen expressed his feeling about Glendale not being accessible to African Americans, and that racism was alive in Glendale as it was in other cities. McGlothen pointed to the fact that he had been unable to locate a rental property in the city, and attributed that to his race. The editor added a note below his letter, refuting this by saying that Laurette Yates’s case was proof that Glendale was accessible to African Americans, almost forgetting the string of events that led to the printing of that the letter.
REFORMING THE GLENDALE HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL
investigating the glendale police
JAUREGUI VS. THE CITY OF GLENDALE
In 1972, Glendale adopted an affirmative action policy as part of the federal redress to years of discrimination against the employment of people of color. Between 1970 and 1980, Glendale had become a less white and more racially diverse community, but issues of harassment and discrimination continued. In September 1985, police officer Ricardo Luis Jauregui successfully sued the City of Glendale for employment discrimination. Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, discrimination is forbidden in a variety of employment situations including the hiring, firing, or the denial of opportunity or compensation based on sex, race, color, age, disability, religion, nation of origin, or genetic information.
Officer Jauregui joined the Glendale police department in 1973 during a period of growth for the Latino and Hispanic population in the city. Having been passed over for promotion to the rank of sergeant for five years despite being at or near the top of promotional lists, Jauregui charged that the department denied “Hispanics, females and blacks equal opportunity for employment.”
Jauregui’s attorney subpoenaed three Black Glendale Police Officers to testify about persistent racial discrimination: Ron Jenkins, Siegfried Faucette and Justus Knight. The case was contentious; at one point, the Assistant City Attorney defending the case was accused of counseling the subpoenaed officers to destroy evidence. For example, Jenkins, who had become Glendale Police Department’s first black officer in 1979, told the court that he had been invited to an off-duty party at a fellow officer's home and found a cross burning on the lawn. “This was supposedly done in jest, but I didn’t think it was funny,” Jenkins testified.
Jauregui successfully demonstrated in federal district court that he was denied a promotion in favor of a less qualified white officer, and that he had been retaliated against when his supervisors were pressured to change favorable performance reviews he had received. District Court Judge Tevrizian ruled that there was a “day to day climate of racial and ethnic harassment.” Jauregui was awarded promotion, backpay, and attorney’s fees. The City appealed the decision to the United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit and lost again in 1988.
After a failed attempt to hire two retired judges to investigate the charges of racial discrimination the City appointed members of the Police Department, the City Manager's Office and the City Attorney's Office prompting Judge Tevrizian to say “That’s no investigation... You can’t investigate yourself.”
Glendale subsequently retained the law firm of Ochoa & Sillas in 1987; the investigation was completed and published in 1988 and titled, “Investigation of the Glendale Police Department’s Hiring and Employment Practices as They Pertain to Racial and Ethnic Minorities.” The report included newspaper articles, questionnaires given to police department members, and interviews.
At over 120 pages, the report detailed many incidents of racism within the police department in the 1970s and ‘80s ranging from racist cartoons, notes, language, actions and so called jokes.
The bulletin board in the police officers’ locker room was occasionally covered with racist flyers, cartoons and pictures with offensive captions, directed toward officers of color. The white officer who was promoted over Jauregui in 1985 admitted to authoring some of the cartoons. One Black officer told Ochoa & Sillas that he found a photograph placed in his new car of a dead African American man with the caption, “Photo at left is of last uppty Nigger that had a new White man’s car in Glendale.” A white officer admitted he left the photograph, but said it was a “joke.” The report notes a City costume party where a sergeant showed up dressed as a Nazi officer, won a prize for his costume, and was congratulated by the chief of police. (The incident was reported by a Jewish officer; both Police Chief David Thompson and the sergeant later apologized.) During the creation of the report, Ochoa & Sillas found that Police Department management were already beginning to make changes, including sending the message that “no racial jokes or racial derogatory comments will be tolerated by the Department.”
The Ochoa & Sillas report also concluded that Glendale had not adequately followed and enforced its own Affirmative Action Policy. There was an absence of sworn officers of color, racial incidents between 1979 and 1985 occurred without disciplinary or preventative actions taken, and minority employees avoided complaining for fear of retaliation. Further, a section in the report titled, “Blacks in Glendale” indicated that the investigators became aware of Glendale’s reputation of being “not receptive” to people of color generally. Black people specifically, Ochoa & Sillas were told by both white people and people of color, would be escorted out of town. The general consensus was that “Glendale was a ‘Sunset (sic) Town’ i.e., that Blacks were not allowed in Glendale after sundown,” the city was known as a “White community” and if Black people were seen at night in a residential neighborhood, “it was presumed that they had no legitimate business in the area.” Without countering this reputation, meeting affirmative action goals would be nearly impossible; for example, the report noted that a Black woman turned down a job in the police department because of her perception of the city.
As a consequence of the testimony and exhibits in the lawsuit, District Court Judge Tevrizian urged the City to conduct an independent investigation into its hiring and employment practices. Then-Mayor Larry Zarian made public comments after the verdict denying there was any evidence of discrimination against employees of Glendale. Judge Tevrizian reprimanded Mayor Zarian, whose comments he called “irresponsible.” He reiterated that Jauregui v. City of Glendale “wasn’t a hard case to call.
Remedial actions were suggested in the report and accepted by the City; they included creating a new position to recruit and monitor city departments to meet the intention behind affirmative action hiring goals. Ochoa & Sillas recommended placing job advertisements in newspapers and bulletin boards where they would be more likely seen by people of color, and creating positions within departments to support employees from a range of cultural backgrounds. It was additionally noted that the police department should revise its promotional policy to make the review process more equitable. The City went on to make the changes recommended in the report, and the Police Department took additional steps, including creating a hate crimes policy (See Glen-Deli for more on the hate crimes policy). An outside firm, Glenda Madrid and Associates, was hired to set citywide affirmative action goals. Jose Feliciano had been Glendale’s affirmative action coordinator since 1981, but his job was expanded after 1986 when the City, in response the Jauregui’s lawsuit and the Ochoa & Sillas report, significantly increased its outreach to, and hiring of, people of color.
Although the City took the report’s recommendations seriously, Jauregui and the African American officers who testified under subpoena at the trial brought additional lawsuits related to discrimination and retaliation. Jauregui was demoted several years later, then settled with the City to resolve further civil actions by retiring with pay and benefits. Ron Jenkins took disability leave from the force in 1987 saying harassment against him increased after he testified in Jauregui’s suit. Dale Faucette filed his own discrimination suit against the City and was fired after an off-duty altercation in Hollywood; his firing was upheld by the California Court of Appeals. Justus Knight also complained of harassment after testifying, and he took unpaid sick leave and filed suit.
REFORMING THE GLENDALE HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL
James Loewen writes in his 2005 book Sundown Towns that even after African Americans have moved into a former “sundown town,” cities can still suffer from “second-generation sundown town issues” where a majority of the workforce may still be white. Glendale’s demographics with regard to the city’s population as a whole and the police department have remained relatively constant with regard to African American representation, leaving room for continued improvement. Ochoa & Sillas noted in their report that in 1985, the African American population in Glendale was 2%. Today that number is 1.8%. The Glendale Police Department exceeds that with 2% of their employees identifying as African American as of 2019.
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Investigation of the Glendale Police Department’s Hiring & Employment Practices as They Pertain to Racial and Ethnic Minorities, v. 2. Ochoa & Sillas, Jan. 1988. Independent Commission on the Los Angeles Police Department, 1991, box 7, folder 4. Doheny Memorial Library, Special Collections, University of Southern California.
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Loewen, James W. Sundown Towns: A Hidden Dimension of American Racism. Touchstone, 2005.
O’Donnell, Santiago. "Acting Affirmatively: Glendale Begins to Move Toward Integrating the City's Work Force." Los Angeles Times, 27 Apr. 1989, pp. 2. ProQuest. Reprinted by permission of the Los Angeles Times.
United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit. Jauregui v. City of Glendale, 852 Federal Reporter 2d, p. 1128, 1988. Casetext. Accessed 22 Feb. 2021.
United States Census Bureau. Glendale, CA. https://data.census.gov/cedsci/table?q=ACSDP5Y2019.DP05%20Glendale%20city,%20California&g=1600000US0630000&tid=ACSDP1Y2019.DP05&hidePreview=true.
Workforce Demographics Update, 2003-2016, Executive Summary. City of Glendale, 21 Feb, 2018.