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Fire Dept. Gets City Sued from Both Sides

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Last year, Los Angeles firefighter Tennie Pierce sued the city and won $2.7 million for being victim of a hazing prank in which a Latino firefighter put dog food in his spaghetti. The prankster and his two white captains were punished, but the captains, who did not spike the food, were treated more severely by the department, leading to yet another lawsuit.

In the decision, jurors said it was both a finding that Capts. Chris Burton and John Tohill were too harshly treated - in an effort to lessen the impact of Tennie Pierce's case - and that the department's policies were unclear. "It was the administration that seemed eager to throw Capt. Burton and Capt. Tohill to the wolves in terms of their careers," juror Heather Howe said after the decision. [The Sausage Factory]

The city was told to pay $1.6 million to the captains. Last year, the Tennie Pierce case led to the stepping down of the respected Los Angeles Fire Department chief, William Bamattre.
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