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Gay LAPD sergeant sues for discrimination

5/4/2011, 9:31 a.m.

LOS ANGELES, Calif.--Jury selection is under way in the trial of a lawsuit by a Los Angeles police sergeant who alleges he was discriminated against, harassed and the victim of retaliation because he is gay.

Sgt. Ronald Crump worked in the LAPD's Media Relations Section from December 2008 until July 2009. He sued the city five months later in Los Angeles Superior Court, alleging sexual orientation discrimination and retaliation.

According to Crump, his supervisor in Media Relations, Lt. John Romero, once told him: "I was a religion major at Liberty University. Jerry Falwell would roll over in his grave if he knew I had hired you.''

Falwell, a conservative televangelist who died in 2007, founded Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va.

Crump alleges Romero's harassment of him was unabated. He says that when speaking to others Romero called him "the new Ruby minus the heels'' in reference to his female predecessor.

When Crump complained about the alleged mistreatment to Mary Grady, who oversees the unit, Romero allegedly told him, "Don't forget I hired you even though you're gay.''

Crump's suit states that he met with then-police Chief Bill Bratton in June 2009 to discuss his complaints. Crump alleges he took a vacation a month later and was told by Grady when he returned that he was being transferred to what the suit states was an "undesirable assignment.''

Crump was later moved to a bicycle detail "in the area informally known as Skid Row in downtown Los Angeles'' and has been denied promotions because he filed a complaint in April 2009 concerning his treatment in media relations, his suit states.

The city's court papers, however, state that Grady transferred Crump, because he did not work well with Romero. He did not lose rank or pay with the change in position, according to the city's response.

Although Crump maintains the alleged discrimination began within a month of his taking the Media Relations assignment, he did not complain until months later, the city's court papers state.

Romero and Grady knew Crump was gay when he was first assigned to Media Relations and his sexual orientation had nothing to do with his later transfer, attorneys for the city say.