Appeals Panel Rejects Award to Ex-Officer

The city has won an appeal of a workers' compensation judgment that awarded eight years' back pay to a former police officer and levied a $10,000 penalty against the city, according to City Manager Keith Till.

A San Francisco workers' compensation appeals board on Tuesday overturned the March 18 ruling by an Orange County workers' compensation judge. The appeals board ruled that the city had been denied "due process" because the claim by former Police Officer Kim Lockley was made after the one-year statute of limitations, Till said Wednesday.

Lockley, 42, has testified that he was forced to resign from the Seal Beach Police Department in 1988 after being accused of harboring a fugitive sought by the FBI. Lockley stated that he did not know an arrest warrant had been issued for the man, who was his brother-in-law.

Lockley, a Korean American, stated that he was fired after making complaints about racial harassment from other officers. He also testified that the harassment led to his divorce and a nervous breakdown. He could not be reached for comment.

Seal Beach Police Chief William Stearns has previously denied Lockley's accusations. Stearns could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Councilman George Brown said the appeals board decision is good news for the city, but it does not fully resolve the issue.

"This is a major step toward reducing our liability," Brown said.

Lockley is entitled to another hearing before an Orange County workers' compensation judge, where he must show why his claim should be exempt from the one-year statute of limitations.

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