A man who says he was turned down for a job with the Nevada attorney general’s office because of his racial discrimination lawsuit against the Los Angeles Police Department filed a federal complaint against the Nevada officials.
Byford “Peter” Whittingham, a 30-year veteran of the Los Angeles police force, filed the allegations in U.S. District Court in Nevada on Tuesday, claiming he was denied a job as an investigator.
Whittingham had sued Los Angeles police in 2014 after he said he was not promoted because he participated in an internal affairs investigation and voted not to fire certain officers, against the wishes of the department’s chief, according to court records.
In the Nevada suit, Whittingham, a black man who worked for the LAPD from 1988 to 2018, said he never discussed the details of his Los Angeles complaint during his February 2019 interview for the Nevada job, though he mentioned that the complaint was active.
By April, Whittingham’s suit alleges, he received a letter that said he was withdrawn from consideration for the job. About a month later, Roland Swanson, the chief of investigations for the attorney general’s office, called Whittingham and told him that the Los Angeles complaint “had nothing to do with his removal from the background process,” the Nevada lawsuit states. “Instead, it ostensibly had to do with plaintiff’s alleged failure to disclose that police responded to plaintiff’s residence on January 28, 1992, during which the Department of Child Services investigated allegations of child abuse, which were unfounded.”
But in February, in response to a complaint filed by Whittingham, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission issued a report that stated it was “unable to conclude that the information obtained establishes violations,” according to the commission’s website.
Whittingham’s lawsuit, which claims retaliation and violation of equal protection and civil rights, called that explanation bogus.
“It is inconceivable that plaintiff, a nearly forty-year veteran of law enforcement, would be disqualified based on the above circumstances, absent some retaliatory motive based on Plaintiff’s race discrimination lawsuit with the notorious LAPD,” the lawsuit states. “Upon information and belief, had plaintiff filed any other kind of lawsuit, or filed no lawsuit making allegations of race discrimination, plaintiff would have been hired by the Attorney General’s office.”
Through a spokeswoman, the Nevada attorney general’s office declined to comment Wednesday.