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Online Story About Police Lieutenant’s Lawsuit Prompts City Response

Published on Monday, August 28, 2023 | 6:08 am

An online story Saturday about a lawsuit filed by a Pasadena police lieutenant against the City and another lieutenant prompted a response from the City.

“The City of Pasadena is aware of the allegations Lt. De Sylva has raised in his employment lawsuit relating to Traffic Section citations and officer time records. Similar allegations were raised by Lt. De Sylva in 2022. Those allegations were investigated by an independent third party and were not sustained,” Pasadena’s Public Information Officer Lisa Derderian said.

“Chief of Police Eugene Harris stated earlier this month that, at his request, the allegations in Lt. De Sylva’s current employment lawsuit would also be reviewed by an independent third party.”

“The City will respond to these allegations in a court of law at the appropriate time, but due to the confidentiality of police officer personnel matters as well as the pending employment litigation, the City cannot comment further on these matters at this time,” Derderian said.

Earlier this month, Police Chief Eugene Harris told Pasadena Now that the lawsuit filed by Lt. Sam De Sylva was being investigated by the Department’s internal affairs section.

Harris would not discuss the pending litigation but did zero in on another claim made by the lawsuit.

“In an employment lawsuit filed by an employee of the Police Department there is a claim referencing ‘Police Gangs’ present within the agency,” Harris said. “I will not discuss the pending litigation, however, upon my onboarding in January 2023 and throughout my current tenure there have been no reports or other indications of ‘gangs’ within the Pasadena Police Department.”

“A thorough review of Department policies, practices, files, and other reference material  revealed no evidence of gangs within the organization.” 

Chief Harris added, “the complaint lodged in the lawsuit has been moved to Internal Affairs for investigation into the claims. Any gang conduct within PPD will not be tolerated and will be met with swift and appropriate action.” 

De Sylva is suing fellow officer Anthony Russo for discrimination, harassment, retaliation and battery. The City is also named as a defendant in the lawsuit.

The lawsuit claims Russo was a member of the “Good Ole Boys,” described in the lawsuit as a gang of high-ranking white officers in the Department.

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