In an age where increased scrutiny is being directed toward police conduct, we must remind ourselves of the protections officers who blow the whistle on inappropriate behavior within their departments can count on. A recent case involving Officer Taisyn Crutchfield from the Pasadena Police Department exemplifies this.
Officer Taisyn Crutchfield, a Black officer, has lodged a claim against the City of Pasadena, alleging retaliation, discrimination, and harassment. This claim came after Crutchfield attempted to de-escalate a tense situation involving another officer and the son of a man killed by Sheriff deputies. Such a case invariably highlights the robust protections for individuals in such situations.
“She’s doing the right thing, she doesn’t believe in a code of silence. She doesn’t believe in circling the wagons,” attorney Bradley Gage said. “She believes in integrity, honesty and safety.”
Attorneys Bradley C. Gage and Ben Crump cite laws protecting law enforcement officers like Officer Crutchfield from retaliation and discriminatory treatment. These include the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), the Peace Officer Bill of Rights, the Bane Act, and the Ralph Act.
The Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) protects employees from discrimination, harassment, and retaliation in employment because of race, color, ancestry, national origin, and other characteristics. Officer Crutchfield’s experience, if proven accurate, represents a clear violation of this Act.
The Peace Officer Bill of Rights Act (POBAR) ensures that officers are afforded their constitutional right to fair treatment. Officer Crutchfield’s allegation raises questions about whether her rights under POBAR were violated when she was placed on administrative leave following her intervention in the incident above.
Crutchfield was placed on paid administrative leave for six months after being sent back to the department, claiming that she was never given any reason for her punishment.
The Bane Act, also known as The Tom Bane Civil Rights Act, protects from threats, intimidation, coercion, or attempts to interfere with someone’s state or federal statutory or constitutional rights. The Ralph Act also protects individuals from violence or threats of violence based on their race or ethnicity.
It’s crucial to remember that these laws work in combination to provide comprehensive protection to law enforcement officers. They allow officers to carry out their duties without fear of reprisal while also demanding an environment free from harassment and discrimination.
While the City of Pasadena has characterized the claim as inaccurate and pledged to contest the allegations, the incident serves as a potent reminder of the importance of these protective laws. Regardless of the outcome, it underscores how essential it is for law enforcement agencies to uphold these protections and ensure a fair, safe, and tolerant working environment for their officers.
Only through an unwavering commitment to these protections can we continue to build trust and integrity within our police forces and their relationships with the communities they serve.