Former officer files claim against city

The former president of the Burbank police union filed a claim against the city last month alleging that he was retaliated against for disclosing — and refusing to participate in — illegal conduct by the department, including arrest quotas, destroying evidence and making false statements in reports for criminal investigations, according to city records.

Mark Armendariz, who was fired in July for reasons city officials have declined to divulge, is seeking damages, which he alleges exceed $10,000, according to the 16-page claim.

Armendariz claimed that by disclosing the violations, he was denied coveted assignments, subjected to harassment and ostracism, denied opportunities to earn overtime compensation, and was made the subject of “unfounded” internal affairs investigations by Police Chief Scott LaChasse and other members of his command staff, according to the document.

LaChasse declined to comment and said he had not yet read the claim. City Atty. Amy Albano could not be reached for comment.

Armendariz also alleged that the department adopted policies forbidding him, and others, from engaging in politics.

The former officer’s attorney contended that city officials had no legitimate reason to fire him.

“He was a good officer for the department,” said Armendariz’s attorney, Christopher Brizzolara. “I look forward to the city of Burbank explaining what the reasons were.”

Armendariz had a history of being critical of changes being made to the police department, which in recent years had been beset by allegations of excessive force and discrimination.

In April 2011, Armendariz filed the grievance with LaChasse, contending reorganization of the patrol and investigative divisions at the time reduced staffing levels to the point of affecting officer response times and causing distress among employees.

And when LaChasse was appointed as the city’s permanent police chief last April, the former union leader said it was “disappointing” that city officials abandoned the police chief recruitment process that they had started the year before.


Follow Alene Tchekmedyian on Google+ and on Twitter: @atchek.


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