The lawsuit filed by Capt. Byford Whittingham claims that only three Black captains have been promoted to higher ranks out of the 58 promotions that Beck has granted since 2009.
In addition to discrimination against Black captains, the lawsuit also alleges retaliation against officers who did not follow Beck’s beliefs when serving on the Board of Rights hearings.
The Board of Rights hearings determine whether or not an officer will be disciplined for an alleged misconduct.
According to the suit, Beck allegedly told all command staff “that when the chief sends an officer to a Board of Rights (hearing), he expects that officer to be terminated and the commanding officers sitting on the Board of Rights do not have the authority to do anything different.”
In August 2012, Whittingham served on one of those boards and said he believed there was not enough evidence against an accused officer to proceed with the hearing.
He requested a dismissal of the case but that decision was overruled by Beck.
After the hearing, Whittingham voted to suspend the officer instead of firing him.
In a separate hearing, Whittingham testified favorably for a Black officer who claimed he had been subjected to racist conduct by Beck.
After the hearing, Beck reportedly called Whittingham a “traitor,” along with other insults that were not specifically listed in the lawsuit.
The suit also points out that Beck takes the captains’ Board of Rights hearing conclusions into consideration when deciding whether to upgrade their positions.
He believes that those hearings, combined with discrimination against Black officers, has caused many personnel to be overlooked for pay upgrades and various promotions.
Whittingham said that he has a personal responsibility to stand up for the rights of Black officers because he is an active member of the Oscar Joe Bryant organization – an group dedicated to protecting the rights of Black officers in honor of a Black LAPD officer who was killed in action in 1968.
Whittingham is seeking unspecified damages.