Earl Wright, an LAPD officer since 1989, sued the city two years ago, saying he was repeatedly humiliated by co-workers who carried out racial pranks and made derogatory remarks.
The council's payment comes at a time when city leaders are reexamining workplace training for city employees. Council President
Martinez said she offered the proposal, in part, as a response to two lawsuits: One alleges that Councilman
According to the LAPD lawsuit, Wright asked a white supervisor on one occasion if he could leave work early and was told "Why? You gotta go pick watermelons?" In another incident, Wright was presented by the supervisor with a cake topped with a fried chicken leg and a slice of watermelon, the lawsuit states.
During the four-day trial, lawyers for the city tried to portray Wright as a willing participant in the jokes made by his colleagues. Police Chief Charlie Beck responded to the verdict by saying that he was "truly saddened by the events that occurred in that work environment perpetrated by a few individuals, including Officer Wright."
A jury awarded Wright $1.2 million in March. Another $300,000 will go toward such costs as attorneys' fees, said Gregory Smith, Wright's lawyer. The council voted unanimously to make the payment on Wednesday.