‘Homophobic’ police chief steps down after officer claims he was denied a promotion because he wouldn’t have sex with her
Sandra Spagnoli, a police chief who allegedly called a lesbian “gross”, has resigned after an officer claimed he was denied a promotion because he wouldn’t sleep with her.
Spagnoli, who is police chief in Beverly Hills, is set to retire on May 15, four years after she was appointed to the post.
She became the first ever female police chief in Beverly Hills, and her appointment was met with fierce enthusiasm – but the joy did not last.
Her tenure as police chief was marred by more than 20 civil lawsuits and employment complaints, which included accusations of homophobia, racism and anti-Semitism.
Sandra Spagnoli allegedly said ‘gross’ when she found out an employee was a lesbian.
During her time in the top job, the city paid out $3 million in settlements to numerous employees who accused her of discrimination.
Last July, a former employee was awarded $250,000 in damages after a jury determined she was subjected to homophobic and racist abuse from Spagnoli.
Dona Norris, the employee, told the court at the time that when Spagnoli found out she was a lesbian, she said: “Ew! Gross.”
I am grateful to have served Beverly Hills and proud of the accomplishments over the past four years to keep this world-class community one of the safest in the nation.
In total, almost 10 per cent of the police workforce in Beverly Hills filed lawsuits or complaints against Spagnoli during her time as chief, according to LA Magazine.
The latest lawsuit was filed on March 30 by Scott Dibble, an officer in her department. He claimed he was “denied promotion several times, initially to sergeant because of his refusal to have a sexual relationship with the Chief.”
Following Dibble’s lawsuit, Spagnoli was put under pressure to retire, and was told she would face possible termination if she refused to do so, NBC Los Angeles reports.
Despite the controversies, Spagnoli said she was ‘proud’ of her accomplishments as police chief.
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Previous lawsuits filed against Spagnoli have alleged similar behaviour. A 2018 lawsuit claimed that two officers who had slept with Spagnoli were unfairly promoted ahead of more experienced officers.
Despite the litany of controversies, Beverly Hills city manager George Chavez praised Spagnoli in a statement following the announcement that she would retire.
“During the chief’s tenure, crime was reduced while the department increased diversity, public outreach, best practices and advancements in technology,” Chavez said.
“We thank chief Spagnoli for her service to our community and her three decades of public service in law enforcement.”
Meanwhile, Spagnoli said: “I am grateful to have served Beverly Hills and proud of the accomplishments over the past four years to keep this world-class community one of the safest in the nation.”