RIGHTS WATCH : Improper Request

The Los Angeles city attorney's office appears far out of line in its questioning in Virginia Acevedo's worker's compensation case for job-related stress. The Los Angeles police officer, who is a lesbian, refuses to answer the city attorney's highly unusual request for the names of her friends and sexual partners, past and present. In an apparent move to force the issue, the city filed a motion to stop payment of her workers' compensation benefits.

Now it is the turn of the city attorney's office to supply some answers. The Los Angeles City Council held an executive session on Wednesday with a representative from the city attorney's office in response to Councilwoman Jackie Goldberg's call for an explanation.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California filed a legal brief on Tuesday challenging the city's request for names. The ACLU maintains that the demand violates rights of privacy and association. The city's rationale for making its request is that Acevedo's psychological condition may stem from her relationships.

Goldberg put the issue best, saying, "They'd have better asserted this in every case of a psychiatric disability for every [heterosexual] man. I know darn well they haven't asked this question."

Is the city playing psychologist, or is the tactic intended to intimidate Acevedo? She has several other claims pending against the city for alleged harassment and discrimination in the LAPD because of her sexual orientation and gender. The city attorney's office has a lot of explaining to do.

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