Last week, news of the settlement between the City of San Leandro and former SLPD officer DeWayne Stancill hit the airwaves. Stancill had been fired from the SLPD after he complained of racial harassment, following accusations of sexually harassing female officers. The reasons given for Stancill’s firing were unrelated, but they also didn’t seem solid. Stancill sued the city for wrongful termination, and last January the city settled.
It’s the elements of the settlement (posted below) which I find disturbing:
– The city agreed to pay Stancill $135,000 (plus attorneys fees), but only if he provided a doctor’s note saying that he had been injured in the course of duty. Those $135,000 would then be considered compensation for those injuries.
– Stancill was to be reinstated into the SLPD, without pay, so that he could then apply for an “Industrial Disability Retirement” from CalPERS.
– If CalPERS did not grant Stancill a disability pension, then the settlement agreement was void.
Also, as part of the settlement agreement:
– The city agreed to exonerate Stancill
– The city agreed to destroy all documents related to Stancill’s demotion from Sergeant and firing, including the termination letters and the investigation reports leading to those actions and all documents regarding the sexual harassment claims against Stancill, including the Estrin report, among others.
– The city would replace the memorandum detailing the reasons why Stancill should be demoted with a form that just says that his probationary period had ended. It’s not clear to me whether that form was created in 2009, or was created for the settlement and backdated to 2009. The latter would seem fraudulent to me.
If Stancill did not get the disability retirement, however, this part of the settlement would also be void. That meant that Stancill would not have been exonerated.
Now, this may all be perfectly legal, but it seems terribly unethical to me. Either Stancill was injured during his tenure or not. If he was, he should pursue those issues with CalPERS independently of this lawsuit. If he wasn’t, the city should not conspire with him to defraud CalPERS.
Similarly, either Stancill committed the acts for which he was demoted and fired, or not. If he did, the city should not lie and exonerate him, much less destroy all the information about his misconduct. If he didn’t commit those acts, he should be exonerated regardless of whether he has a doctor’s note documenting his disability. Again, those things should be independent. Moreover, it’s deeply disturbing that the city agreed to destroy the documents about the sexual harassment of the female officers, thus deleting a piece of SLPD history that should not be forgotten. Now, unethical agreements like this are filed every day, but I wished our City would be not be that sleazy. I am sure that this settlement is the brainchild of Meyers Nave, the firm that represents the City, but it had to be approved by the City Council.