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Ex-officer who waged gay rights battle against LAPD arrested in domestic violence case

Ex-officer who waged gay rights battle against LAPD arrested in domestic violence case
Mitchell Grobeson speaks at a 1993 news conference after his reinstatement to the Los Angeles Police Department. (Ken Lubas / Los Angeles Times)

A former Los Angeles police sergeant who had a protracted legal battle against the LAPD over its treatment of gay and lesbian officers was arrested last week after an hours-long standoff in West Hollywood, authorities said Monday.

Mitchell Grobeson, 57, was taken into custody Friday in the 800 block of West Knoll Drive and booked on a charge of corporal injury on a spouse, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

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The incident was initially reported about 10 a.m. as a barricaded suspect, according to the Sheriff's Department. About 2 p.m., after crisis negotiators persuaded Grobeson to surrender, he was arrested.

Arrest records reviewed by The Times list Grobeson's occupation as a "retired police officer." He is being held in a Los Angeles County jail in lieu of $250,000 bail, and he's scheduled to appear in the Airport Courthouse on Tuesday morning, according to jail records.

In 1988, at age 29, Grobeson filed a lawsuit against the LAPD, alleging that fellow officers and their superiors forced him to resign following a mix of threats and intimidation over his sexual orientation.

Before resigning from the force in 1988, Grobeson had served for nearly seven years. He alleged in his lawsuit that superiors called him a pejorative term and that he once received a package labeled "AIDS survival kit."

In February 1993, Grobeson, along with two other officers, won $770,000 in damages and a promise by the department to improve its recruitment, hiring and training of gay officers.

Grobeson filed a second lawsuit against the department in 1996, alleging that the LAPD had failed to carry out the reforms promised in the earlier settlement. He also alleged that officers and supervisors were harassing him on the job after he returned to the department.

He later retired on a stress disability claim and challenged the LAPD's suspensions of him in court.

In 2013, Grobeson and the LAPD reached a settlement in the second lawsuit, ending a quarter-century-long legal battle.

An attorney representing Grobeson could not be reached for comment.

For breaking news in California, follow @MattHjourno.

Twitter:@LACrimes

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