San Diego police continue to face a number of criminal and civil cases alleging officer misconduct ranging from sexual harassment to illegal groping.
Here’s a rundown of some of the most prominent ones:
Current officers and a sexual misconduct victim are suing the department.
The officers argue they faced sexual harassment within the department in recent years. A victim of a former officer wants damages – and changes to how the department operates.
Carl Hershman Sexual Harassment Lawsuit
Hershman is an SDPD officer who worked in the sex-crimes unit in 2009. He had posters of barely clothed women with jokes about them getting drugged hung on his cubicle. The posters were among the key evidence in sexual harassment complaints from two female officers who worked in the unit. The city settled those lawsuits for $75,000.
Hershman countersued, alleging he was harassed and retaliated against during the city’s internal investigation. His case is still active. Among his arguments: He and a colleague had the posters up for years without complaint, and they were a teaching tool. Hershman also hired a private investigator to show that one of the female officers was skipping out on the job. He said he presented his evidence to then-Chief William Lansdowne, who Hershman claims didn’t do anything.
The city, meantime, says in a court filing that Hershman’s posters were grossly inappropriate:
Hershman’s racy posters were taken down because other officers complained about them. Although Hershman claims they were used as training tools in the private, for-profit business he conducted off site during his vacation time, he never explains why he needed to hang them up in his cubicle. In fact he confirms that he was permitted to keep them up as long as no one complained. The Court will see the posters for what they are, insulting and demeaning to women: they condone child molestation, they made light of drugging women so they can be raped, they encourage victim blame by referring to women as “trailer trash” or mock females subjected to horrible sex crimes with comments addressed to the victims like “Your stupidity is our livelihood … SDPD Sex Crimes Unit.”
A trial was scheduled to hear Hershman’s claims this week, but it has been moved to mid-August, according to the city attorney’s office.
Jane Doe Sexual Assault Lawsuit
This lawsuit could result in the biggest payout and massive changes to departmental operations.