Former officer files lawsuit against Chula Vista Police Departme - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Former officer files lawsuit against Chula Vista Police Department

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - A former Chula Vista police officer is suing the department alleging racial discrimination as he joined the force. 

The former Chula Vista police trainee said a decorated officer, the chief, asked him to apply and join the force. 

Eight months later, he was terminated. In the lawsuit, he claims racial discrimination, hostile work environment, retaliation and failure to prevent harassment. 

"I would describe it as very uncomfortable," said David Mitchell. 

David Mitchell retired from San Diego Police as a Lieutenant in 2014, and joined the Chula Vista force in 2015.

During his ten weeks of training, Mitchell said two of his field training officers known as FTO's used racial slurs that were beyond professional. 

In one occasion, Mitchell said the FTO's used racial slurs to refer to Woodlawn Park. 

"He made a comment that they called that part of Chula Vista, 'N-word' Hill," he said. 

In the complaint, the former officer alleges the FTO used a racial slur when describing a home as a "trailer trash," and another officer used a derogatory name when referring to gay people on a call to a bar. 

"I was taken back. I was offended by it. He kind of chuckled as if it were amusing. I found it offensive," he said. 

The racial discrimination complaint was filed this week by Mitchell's attorney, Dan Gilleon in San Diego County Superior Court. 

During his service at SDPD, Mitchell said he filed racial discrimination complaints, but not on this magnitude. 

Mitchell said that in this case, after filing a complaint with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, the Chula Vista force scrutinized him. 

"Everything I would do, they would find something wrong," he said. 

In July he was put on administrative leave, and 30 days later, he was terminated. 

He said he filed the lawsuit in hopes that it will be corrected and not taint the department or the officers in blue. 

"What I hope will come from this is positive change. People can stand by and remain silent, but when we do that, then things don't get better," he said. 

Mitchell said the department told him he was let go because he did not pass probation. 

The senior assistant city attorney released the following statement: 

"Our office has not been served with the complaint and consequently cannot comment on the case. However, we are generally aware of Mr. Mitchell's allegations. The City and the Chula Vista Police Department take allegations of this nature very seriously."

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