Photo: FLLewis/A Writer’s Groove —Burbank Police and Fire Headquarters.
In a recent Los Angeles Times story about the FBI probe and those lawsuits filed by former and current members of the Burbank Police Force, Burbank City Attorney Dennis Barlow had very little to say. City Attorney Barlow is quoted as saying he “… was unable to comment on the FBI investigation or the lawsuits against the city and Police Department, citing pending litigation.” Barlow may be mum, but another major player in the Burbank City Attorney’s Office has had plenty to say about those lawsuits which allege a pattern of harassment, discrimination, retaliation, and misconduct in the BPD.
On this blog last Wednesday, we first heard about Assistant City Attorney Juli Scott’s harangue from one of our regular commenters. “Stretch” said, “… Juli Scott was recently giving “sexual harrasment” training at the police department. In front of 75 or so officers she starts to talk about the lawsuits and how they are all BS. It is reported that Scott continues her rant and says the city will fight these suits and if they lose they will appeal them at all cost. Then they will seek damages against the complaining officers. Cost to who…not you Juli..just the taxpayers.” Burbank blogger Jim Carlile picked up the story as well.
I have confirmed from a Burbank police employee who was at that training session, on Monday, September 28, that Attorney Scott put on quite a performance. The employee might become a target of retaliation, so I’m not going to include a name or gender. The employee described the tirade by Scott as being filled with “cheap shots.” According to the employee, Scott said, “… they don’t settle frivolous lawsuits that they will fight cases and have them overturned on appeal and then make the plaintiffs pay for their legal fees, etc.” Also, my source confirmed an officer who has filed one of those lawsuits was in the audience and was possibly the main target of Scott’s verbal assault.
In the statement read by Mayor Gary Bric at the City Council meeting last Tuesday, with the approval of his fellow council members, Bric referred to the lawsuits and claims as “… very serious allegations and I think it is clear to everyone that the police department is facing some major challenges.” A very different tone from that of a lawyer in the City Attorney’s Office who called the lawsuits frivolous and threatened the officers who filed them with reprisals. Interestingly, the official city statement from the Burbank Public Information Office described the lawsuit filed by Former Deputy Police Chief Bill Taylor as “frivolous,” too.
All of this makes you wonder who really speaks for the city of Burbank and who is in charge of the direction it is taking with these lawsuits and investigations. The mixed signals from city officials suggest a crisis in leadership along with the other problems now facing Burbank and its citizens.