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COUNCIL SETTLES LAPD SUIT EX-COP GETS $1.25 MILLION IN HARASSMENT CASE.

Byline: Mariel Garza Staff Writer

The Los Angeles City Council agreed Wednesday to pay a police officer $1.25 million to settle her lawsuit claiming that LAPD brass systematically harassed her after she complained about sexist and racist remarks made by her supervisor.

Sgt. Diane Tostado, an Los Angeles Police Department officer since 1985, claimed in her suit that three of the department's command staff - including former Deputy Chief Rick Dinse, now chief of Salt Lake City police - retaliated against her for speaking out, and ultimately ruined her career.

The council vote was 10-1, with Councilman Nate Holden voting no. The action, taken in closed session, means the city will avoid a trial, which city officials say could have cost the city even more money.

``It's a victory for her rights. It's a vindication of the position she's been taking and provides significant compensation for injuries,'' said Tostado's attorney, Dan Stormer. ``It's also a sad day in that this was a woman who loved being a police officer.''

Tostado claimed that four years ago, Lt. Andrew Monsue, her supervisor at the Wilshire Division, told her that affirmative action had resulted in undeserved promotions for minorities. She alleged that he said he did not care about affirmative action, only about white men.

Tostado, the highest-ranking Latina in her division at the time, said she felt ``immensely affected and offended'' by the remarks.

After Tostado reported her complaint to LAPD Capt. David Powers and, later, to Dinse, she claims she was unfairly transferred, had unfounded complaints lodged against her and was finally demoted.

Tostado has been on stress-related medical leave since March 1999, and will never be able to work as an officer again, Stormer said.

``What they did was harass her to the point that she couldn't survive at the Police Department,'' Stormer said. ``It's a real tragedy. This is a Latina who was promoted quickly and lived to serve.''

Cmdr. Gary Brennan, a spokesman for the LAPD, did not return phone calls.

The original complaint against Monsue was investigated and determined to be unfounded, according to Cheryl Mason, chief of the civil liability management branch of the City Attorney's Office.

The settlement came about through mediation, she said.

And while the payout may be a large sum for the city, ``she asked for a lot more than she got even in settlement, and would have been asking for more in trial,'' Mason said.
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Oct 17, 2002
Words:403
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