Across the country, leaders of police departments are being placed on administrative leave, resigning or even being fired amid mass protests that have swept the nation in a backlash that started with the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Cancel culture has engulfed America. It is ruling the day — no judge, no jury, just swift and definitive judgment for any offense, be it a pattern of practice or a thoughtless mistake.
Yet at Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA), Deputy Executive Director (DED) for Law Enforcement and Homeland Security David L. Maggard Jr., a man at the center of nine lawsuits on racial, gender, retaliation and disability discrimination, remains undeterred in his oversight of police and other employees at the nation’s second-largest airport.
Since LAWA hired him in 2015, DED Maggard has been promoted twice within the span of four years, sending a clear message to those under him about what is needed to climb the ladder at LAWA. This is all in the wake of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti making bold and definitive declarations of Los Angeles’s zero-tolerance policy for discrimination, harassment and retaliation.
Neither LAWA’s CEO Justin Erbacci, the Board of Airport Commissioners (BOAC) or the L.A. City Council have moved forward with placing DED Maggard on administrative leave. The city also has not conducted any independent investigation into the numerous allegations against Maggard. If a rank-and-file police officer had even one pending lawsuit against them, that person would be on administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation.
Instead, LAWA completes a reorganization reinforcing DED Maggard’s position and continues with business as usual. DED Maggard has been allowed to remain in his position and provide input on day-to-day operations, furthering the mismanagement of the organization. Meanwhile, as stated above, at least nine lawsuits are pending against Maggard, and a vote of no confidence remains in place from the rank-and-file officers who he is supposed to be leading.
The LAAPOA Board is calling for the mayor and City Council to execute the anti-discriminatory practices they are advocating for publicly, instead of doing the exact opposite with DED Maggard. Despite raising these red flags, the LAAPOA Board’s concerns have yet to be given the immediate attention they deserve.
“We have seen numerous minority and/or female officers and those in leadership positions being fired or passed over for promotions for actions not even directly undertaken by them,” LAAPOA President Marshall McClain says. “Maggard believes he is untouchable, and he acts like he is — and every officer under his authority knows it. He makes it clear. He has Mayor Garcetti, BOAC and Justin Erbacci failing to provide the attention these matters deserve; they have all yet to fully investigate any of the EEO complaints or numerous other allegations.
“They are shielding him from his accusers. There is no accountability. Why?” McClain asks. “Rank-and-file officers continue to live in an environment where retribution runs rampant, and our leaders are providing cover to the singular person whose leadership has never been questioned and who is only emboldened by their inaction, which shows a degree of support — or worse, complicity. Where is our support? Who is listening to us? No one. But our voices will not be stifled moving forward. No more empty promises. We will be heard. If a Department of Justice or other federal agency investigation is what’s needed for change, then that’s what we are prepared to do.”