A black Los Angeles police officer is suing the city, alleging he was retaliated against after complaining that a white colleague wrongly followed and stopped him as he drove off-duty through South Los Angeles.
Lamark Ferguson said in the lawsuit that when he told the officer that he also worked for the LAPD and showed him his police identification, the officer said he needed to verify Ferguson's employment because gang members "down here are known to impersonate LAPD."
Ferguson joined the department in 2010, according to state police records. The other officer was not named in the lawsuit.
The LAPD declined to comment on the case. Ferguson's attorneys did not respond to requests for comment.
According to the lawsuit, Ferguson was driving through South L.A. in August 2014 to check on a property he owned when he was pulled over by the other officer about two blocks away from the property. Ferguson gave the officer his driver's license and LAPD identification, the lawsuit said, and told him his uniform and badge were in the car's backseat.
It took the officer 20 minutes to check Ferguson's employment — "much more time than was necessary," according to the lawsuit. The officer then let Ferguson go.
When Ferguson pulled into the driveway on his property, the lawsuit said, the officer stopped him again, saying he "still needed to verify" Ferguson's employment.
Ferguson again provided his LAPD ID and told the officer where he was assigned and who he reported to, according to the lawsuit. As he sat in his driveway for another 20 minutes, Ferguson called his supervisor at the Hollywood station "to complain that he was being harassed and profiled based on his race as an African American."
The lawsuit said Ferguson initiated a personnel complaint against the officer after his supervisor failed to do so.
After that complaint was initiated, the lawsuit said, Ferguson was loaned to another division and put on administrative duties. The department also initiated a personnel complaint against Ferguson, the lawsuit said, alleging he made false statements to internal affairs investigators.
The lawsuit denied Ferguson did so and alleged the LAPD retaliated against Ferguson because he is black.
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