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Black LAX Officer Wins $200,000 in Bias Suit

TIMES STAFF WRITER

A black officer with the Los Angeles Airport Police Bureau was awarded $200,000 this week by a Superior Court jury that found he had been denied a promotion to sergeant partly because of his race.

Glendon Jeffers, 59, sued the city of Los Angeles, claiming that white airport police officers were repeatedly promoted ahead of him and that the police bureau’s system for promotions was designed to permit discrimination against minorities.

His case was filed on the heels of a 1986 report in which a former Superior Court judge found that the Airport Police Bureau--which patrols Los Angeles International Airport but is not connected with the city Police Department--had repeatedly discriminated against its minority officers in promotions, salaries and working conditions. The report prompted the city to hire a consultant to revamp the department.

According to Jeffers’ lawyer, Raymond Boucher, the verdict marked the first time a minority officer has successfully sued the LAX police for discrimination.

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But Barry Leigh Weisman, who represented the city in the action, said an appeal is possible.

“The city did absolutely nothing wrong,” Weisman said. “They followed the procedures. . . . I feel the verdict was amazing. It totally flabbergasted me.”

Jeffers--who has been promoted since he brought his suit--applied to become a sergeant in April, 1985, but was denied the promotion. Boucher said Jeffers scored well on the Civil Service examination but received a low ranking after an oral interview with his superiors.

While Boucher maintains the oral interview was designed to keep blacks from being promoted, Weisman said the interviews were “in no way discriminatory.”

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