A civil rights lawsuit brought by rank-and-file police officers against Inglewood Police Chief Joseph Rouzan has been dismissed by a federal judge who cited lack of proof.

The suit, filed in October, charged that Rouzan had violated the First Amendment rights of four officers when he attempted to question them about their part in a September meeting of the Inglewood Police Assn. where criticism was said to have been raised about Rouzan's performance as chief. The four officers, who filed suit together with the rank-and-file police union, accused Rouzan of using "intimidating tactics" and infringing on their right to freedom of speech and association.

In a Jan. 4 opinion not made public until last week, U.S. District Judge Francis C. Whelan ruled that no facts exist to support the charges.

"There is no evidence showing that (Rouzan) violated the First Amendment rights of the plaintiffs," Whelan said in his written opinion.

Richard Levine, attorney for the police association, said that the union may appeal the ruling to the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

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