News, entertainment, opinion, and whatever sparks interest in Burbank the Media City

Burbank gets sued by another one of its police officers

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

File Photo: FLLewis/A Writer’s Groove — Burbank Police and Fire Headquarters at North Third Street and Orange Grove Avenue.

The number of present or former Burbank Police Officers suing the city and some department brass jumped to eight this week, and there are indications that total will go even higher. The latest lawsuit was filed by BPD Detective Angelo Dahlia on Tuesday in federal court, according to the Burbank Leader.

The story was up on the Leader website at 5:26 p.m. last night. A terse statement on the Dahlia suit appeared on the Burbank city website a short time later at 6:15 p.m. Here’s the statement.

Statement on Lawsuit Filed by Detective Angelo Dahlia

BURBANK, Calif. (November 19, 2009) – The City has been named as a defendant in a lawsuit filed by Burbank Police Detective Angelo Dahlia.

These are a new set of allegations related to cases already being investigated. As with all serious charges, it is important for the investigations to be completed.

Earlier this year, the City hired an outside attorney and investigator to conduct an independent investigation into allegations ranging from wrongful termination, discrimination and retaliation to abuse of force.

In addition, Police Chief Tim Stehr requested the LA County Sheriff’s Department conduct its own investigation.

As these important inquiries continue, the City’s top priority remains the safety of our citizens.


This statement is extremely sketchy with very few facts relevant to the Dahlia case. What are Detective Dahlia’s allegations and charges? The Burbank statement was either hastily prepared by someone who FORGOT to include important facts or perhaps the purpose of the statement is not to inform, but a flimsy attempt at some sort of damage control.  

Ironically last Tuesday, November 17, the city council voted to install a new policy providing some type of screening for news releases on sensitive issues before they’re made public. This was in reaction to a controversy stirred up over the tone and language in some recent releases dealing with the investigations and lawsuits, particularly the statement issued after the suit filed by Ex-Deputy Police Chief Bill Taylor last September.

In a letter to the city council dated November 2, 2009, Former Burbank Mayor Marsha Ramos joined the outcry over the Taylor statement: “The press release stated that Mr. Taylor ‘refused to cooperate’ in the City’s attempt to investigate. Yet, I know that Mr. Taylor made several attempts to cooperate and bring forward for further discussion some very serious concerns.”

As for the Dahlia lawsuit, the Leader is reporting the BPD detective “alleges that high-ranking members of the department investigating the 2007 robbery of Porto’s Bakery assaulted and beat witnesses and suspects ‘under the color of authority.’ ” 

So the city of Burbank and the BPD are facing another potentially multi-million dollar lawsuit/ settlement. And we haven’t heard from the attorneys for Sergeant Neil T. Gunn’s family. Relatives have already accused the city and the BPD of having a hand in Sgt. Gunn’s suicide last month; a lawsuit is reportedly in the works.

I can’t help but wonder, if Police Chief Tim Stehr had taken complaints and concerns last spring from the Burbank Police Officer’s Association seriously enough and taken action to solve some of the department’s problems, Burbank might not be facing all these lawsuits and maybe, just maybe, a certain police officer might still be alive.

Tags: , , ,

13 Responses to Burbank gets sued by another one of its police officers

  1. Masked Saturday, November 21, 2009 at 5:58 pm #

    Please reprint the whole Ramos letter from
    Nov 9 seems it’s public and somebody should have a copy.

  2. Fronnie Saturday, November 21, 2009 at 6:28 pm #


    Reprint? I just quoted from a November 2 Ramos letter in this post. As you can tell the focus of this post is not the issue discussed in that letter. So a quote is appropriate.

    If you find a copy of a November 9 letter from Ramos and want to post it here, go right ahead. I’m pretty sure they have copies of the November 2 letter at city hall/city clerk’s office.

    Or Marsha Ramos can post that letter here as well.

  3. Masked Saturday, November 21, 2009 at 7:19 pm #

    It’s interesting and related to when and who knew what. It helps the time line of when cops first started going to the City Council with their concerns. I’ll see if the city clerk does indeed have a copy Tuesday. I thought because you quoted from it you had the whole thing.

  4. Fronnie Saturday, November 21, 2009 at 7:34 pm #


    Hmm. Sounds like you are talking about the Taylor lawsuit more so than the Ramos letter— which deals with the news release put out by the city after the Tayor suit was filed.

    Like I said –I quoted from a November 2 letter not a November 9 letter. This November 9 letter you’re talking about may have all you say in it.

  5. DixieFlyer Sunday, November 22, 2009 at 4:19 am #

    Masked must mean the letter from Marsha Ramos of 2 November.
    The full letter may demonstrate a time line that contradicts current City Council memories.
    Some of us believe our former Mayor is motivated to tell the truth–unlike some of the hear no evil, speak no evil folks that occupy the right side of the field.
    Marsha’s awareness, as a member of Council then, may extend the period that Council members were aware.
    Didn’t they receive more than one annonymous letter that spelled out date, times, case # ‘s ???

  6. Fronnie Sunday, November 22, 2009 at 12:54 pm #


    Okay, the November 2 letter. I have a hard copy and an e-mail copy (which I’ve had technical problems with —it will not open).

    There are probably plenty of copies out there in circulation, so if someone has it — they can go ahead and post it here.

  7. John Brady Monday, November 23, 2009 at 1:28 am #

    Hi Fronnie,

    I got your e mail and being the sort that would rather ask forgiveness than permission especially when such an eloquent message needs to be delivered. Here it is:

    November 2, 2009

    Dear Mr. Mayor and Members of the City Council:

    I write to express my deep concern with the tone and direction our city leaders have elected to take in response to the police department lawsuits and investigations. More specifically, to item 13 as it appears on your agenda this evening, regarding the tone of one recent press release issued by the City on September 29, 2009, prepared in response to the lawsuit filed by former Deputy Chief William H Taylor.

    I believe that the issues surrounding our police department have continued to escalate in part because of several of the responses made by city officials. The September 29, 2009 press release used strong and combative language such as: “vicious”, “baseless”, absolutely false” to describe all the allegations outlined in the lawsuit. This press release characterizes Mr. Taylor, a 26 year veteran of the Burbank Police Department (who promoted to the position of Deputy Chief) as .… “unable to deal with his own personal career disappointment”, asserts … “a lack of leadership and professionalism” and claims he “refused to cooperate”. I dispute these defamatory characterizations obviously selected and crafted for press release impact. I think these legal tactics have set a very destructive tone, and should not be supported.

    Retaliation is a very serious matter. It can not be taken flippantly. City employees including police officers have a protected right to file lawsuits. Mr. Taylor’s lawsuit was filed on September 22nd.
    On September 29th were you confident that you had enough facts about this lawsuit? Were you certain enough to determine that this press release was an appropriate response by the City? The press release stated that Mr. Taylor “refused to cooperate” in the City’s attempt to investigate. Yet, I know that Mr. Taylor made several attempts to cooperate and bring forward for further discussion some very serious concerns. I’m not asking these questions to try to get a comment on pending litigation. I know that drill all too well. I simply ask that you examine the decisions made by City leadership (police chief, city attorney and city manager) and that you evaluate the process by which these decisions are made.

    According to the staff report the determination to make this very strong public statement is made by city management. My concern is not so much an approval “process” for every press release, but whether the majority of the City Council is in agreement with the decisions, tone and broad characterizations made by the leadership in city management. We know that city management and particularly the City Attorney and City Manager have a responsibility to keep the City Council informed and represent to the public the views of a Council majority. If the press release represented your opinions and views accurately, so be it. If it did not, then clarify why not.

    I will look for your response.


    Marsha R. Ramos

  8. Fronnie Monday, November 23, 2009 at 1:50 am #


    Thank you very much for helping out and posting Marsha Ramos’ letter — which is both hard hitting and to the point about those controversial news releases.

  9. Outflank Tuesday, November 24, 2009 at 7:26 pm #

    The more I read about this Arrogant JERK’s on the council the crazier they make me.

    Right on to Marsha for sending that letter to the council, too bad they are so thick that they don’t get the big picture.

    Bric is an idiot, no question about it. “The FBI just showed up one day” was his comment to Leyna Nguyen a news reporter, but than he addresses the fact that they (city/BPD)called in for help? So which is it and what have they don’t to resolve the problem.

    As long as we continue to have an incompetence council, who puppeteers at the command of a selective few and they keep sweeping the issues under the rug, nothing will get resolved. We need someone with a SPINE and quickly, pronto fast. Like April of 2009, when the rumbling was happening!

    City council should force the city manager & attorney to provide them with ALL the material necessary, so that they don’t continue to get caught up in lie’s!.

    The meeting tonight will make for excellent news tomorrow.

  10. Jim C. Tuesday, November 24, 2009 at 8:45 pm #

    The FBI came in originally because an officer named Todd Mofford notified them of these problems involving the Portos investigation, which he was not part of.

    The council has been well aware of this investigation since before the beginning of the year.

    By the way, the staff keeps Bric out of the loop and uninformed in general, because they are afraid he has loose lips and is going to spout-off about things.

  11. Fronnie Wednesday, November 25, 2009 at 4:36 am #


    Thanks for the background on the FBI investigation. As for Mayor Gary Bric I don’t think it is wise to leave him out of the loop.

    As we’ve seen at city council meetings, the mayor is going to mouth-off whether he has the facts to back up what he’s saying or not. So it would be better for all concerned to keep Bric informed — and the other council members as well.

  12. Gloria Wednesday, November 25, 2009 at 12:51 pm #

    A great letter that appeared in today’s Burbank Leader:
    The Mail Bag:

    A solution to our problems: Vote

    I agree with Don Elsmore (“Who is in charge of this city and its police?” Mailbag, Nov. 13) that the City Council’s conduct Nov. 3 was disgusting (“Police chief called out,” Nov. 4).

    It was especially reprehensible the way Councilman Dave Golonski opportunistically used the situation to take yet another potshot at his political nemesis, Councilman David Gordon. However, Elsmore asks a very serious question that I would like to answer.

    “Who is in charge here?” We are. But unfortunately, less than 50% of registered voters even bother to vote in local elections. As a result of voter indifference and failure to hold elected officials accountable for their actions, in the past decade, the city has fallen into the hands of a clique who are all on the same page, and are apparently interested only in their own personal interests and those of their cronies and campaign contributors.

    And what do we have to show for it? In addition to the problems with the Police Department, nightly gridlock on every major highway in the city. A boneheaded plan to narrow Verdugo in an already congested area, and another equally ill-advised plan to modify Olive Avenue; lanes of traffic being blocked off during rush hour and on weekends for such “emergencies” as painting the lines and tree trimming; an incompetent traffic signalization pattern that promotes a scofflaw mentality as motorists speed to make up for lost time or run red lights to avoid being trapped.

    Oh, wait! They did give us a smoking ban. And to see how effective that’s been, stop by the outside of Outback or Marshal’s any night of the week. Be sure to bring an oxygen mask.

    And we have only ourselves to blame.



  13. Fronnie Thursday, November 26, 2009 at 2:45 am #


    Yes, that’s a very good letter. It makes some very good points.

Comments are closed.