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Former Officer Who Fought LAPD Over Gay Rights Arrested For Alleged Domestic Violence

An LAPD squad car is parked near L.A. City Hall at night.
LAPD
(Steven Bevacqua via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr)
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A former police sergeant who long battled the LAPD over the treatment of gay and lesbian officers was arrested on charges of domestic violence.Mitchell Grobeson, 57, was arrested last Friday after an hours-long standoff in West Hollywood with the the L.A. County Sheriff's Department, reports the L.A. Times.

Around 10 a.m. on Friday, sheriff's deputies responded to reports that Grobeson was allegedly barricaded inside of his apartment in the 800 block of West Knoll Drive. After four hours, a crisis negotiation team persuaded the former sergeant to surrender. Grobeson was then taken into custody and booked on a charge of corporal injury on a spouse.

Grobeson is currently being held in jail in lieu of $250,000 bail, and is expected to appear in the Airport Courthouse this morning.

Grobeson, considered the department's first openly gay officer, filed a lawsuit against the LAPD in 1988 at the age of 29, according to The Advocate. The lawsuit alleged that his superiors and fellow officers forced him to resign following threats and intimidation over his sexual orientation, and that he allegedly once received a package labeled "AIDS survival kit." Prior to his resignation, Grobeson had served for seven years.

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In 1993, Grobeson, along with two other officers, won $770,000 in damages along with a promise that the LAPD would improve recruitment, hiring and training of gay officers. Grobeson eventually returned to the department, encouraged by then-Chief Willie L. Williams' assertions that discrimination against gays and lesbians would no longer be tolerated, according to CBS LA.

Grobeson then filed a second suit against the department in 1996, alleging that the city and the LAPD had failed to implement the promised changes from the initial suit. He also alleged that he was harassed by fellow officers and superiors when he returned to work and was not allowed to be involved with any of the anti-discrimination training. Grobeson would soon retire from the department on a stress disability claim.

He eventually reached an agreement with the city in October 2007 on part of the second suit when they agreed to rewrite code guidelines for the department to strengthen anti-discrimination policies. But it wasn't until 2013 that he and the LAPD reached a settlement in the suit.