On Monday, August 17, with six lawyers representing individual Los Angeles Airport Police Department (LAXPD) officers who have filed separate lawsuits against Law Enforcement and Homeland Security Deputy Executive Director (DED) David L. Maggard Jr., Marshall E. McClain, president of the Los Angeles Airport Peace Officers Association (LAAPOA), hosted a Zoom press conference calling for an independent review of lawsuits that have been filed against DED Maggard. These lawsuits show a pattern of practice of Director Maggard engaging in racial and gender discrimination and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) violations.
Beginning in April 2018, nine civilian and sworn employees of LAXPD — including security officers, police officers, police sergeants and police lieutenants — after having exhausted all other avenues, filed lawsuits against Director Maggard. What became apparent at the press conference is that Maggard has employed similar tactics with all of the plaintiffs: intimidation by stonewalling. Maggard, using outside law firms paid for by the City, dragged out every legal administrative process. He made himself “unavailable” for depositions, and when depositions were finally scheduled, he misled, misremembered and, at times, flat-out lied. When an outside law firm paid for by the City was hired to “independently” investigate one of his many offenses, Maggard “forgot” that the law firm investigating him was the same law firm that previously defended him until the plaintiff’s attorney provided proof of the relationship.
When several officers wore preapproved police vests that shift the weight of police gear on their bodies to accommodate line-of-duty injuries, DED Maggard banned their use because he did not like the way the vests looked. He retaliated against the officers, who had no choice but to file a lawsuit in 2018, which is still inching its way through the COVID-19-backlogged City of L.A. court system, even though the officers’ counsel made several attempts to resolve this issue without going to court.
When a 15-year veteran LAXPD officer filed a limited-duty memo that included medical documentation on behalf of another officer, at the direction of LAXPD Human Resources, the African American female officer was fired by DED Maggard. After much anguish, humiliation and reputational damage, the officer was reinstated after an investigation of the circumstances. However, DED Maggard refused the investigators’ recommendation to apologize to her.
Each issue individually is troubling, but, as a whole, they clearly display a pattern of practice that cannot and should not be ignored.
However, after conducting a closed-session meeting on July 16, the Board of Airport Commissioners (BOAC) and the City Attorney’s Office concluded that there was no pattern of practice to these literally pattern of practice lawsuits, which repeatedly show that Maggard has a disregard and disdain for people of color, women and officers in need of special equipment to perform their jobs.
“The participants in our press conference all left with the same questions,” LAAPOA President Marshall McClain says. “When is enough enough? What constitutes a pattern of practice? Is it nine lawsuits, 20 lawsuits? Why is DED Maggard immune to a standard that he would never permit for those who work for him? For a man who is so rigid that he will put his own officers in harm’s way because he doesn’t like the look of an ADA-approved vest and cannot apologize to a police officer who was reinstated after having her entire career and life upended by him, how can he not see the injustice and irony of the current circumstances conveyed in all of these lawsuits?
“DED Maggard gets the City to hire a law firm to do an independent review of a matter in which he is the primary offender and the law firm actually turns out to be one that defended him in the past — and, Maggard lied about it during a deposition!” McClain continues. “How does this happen? How can the airport continue to shell out money to defend Maggard and his indefensible repeated actions? LAX is supposed to be the gold standard — but it has one standard for its rank and file and another for DED Maggard. Do the right thing, Mayor Garcetti and BOAC, and if you will not, have an independent investigator review these lawsuits and the many complaints about Maggard. This time, just don’t let him pick the investigator!”