Sheriff's Sergeant Brian Moriguchi poses Tuesday, November 30 1999 with a photograph of a racist caricature scrawled in his office in 1996. The photo served as evidence in a trial Moriguchi won against the County of Los Angeles in August 1999.
Sergeant Battles Racism in Sheriff's Department
Sgt. Brian Moriguchi alleged harassment against the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department, stemming from a 1996 racial affront. After three years of failed suppression by superiors and near-exile to Lancaster, Moriguchi's supervisors are censured unanimously by judge and jury. An appeal is pending.
By JOHN LEE
RAFU SHIMPO STAFF WRITER
LOS ANGELES.—A Superior Court judge has ordered two Sheriff's Department supervisors to pay more than $60,000 in punitive damages and monetary relief to a Japanese American sergeant who was persecuted upon complaining of a racist caricature that was displayed in his office for days.
Sgt. Brian Moriguchi, a 14-year veteran of the force, announced the recent court decision at a press conference Tuesday outside the County Board of Supervisors hearing room. He was joined by his two attorneys and members of several legal and law enforcement advocacy groups.
A jury in the case Moriguchi v. County of Los Angeles, et al., returned a unanimous verdict against two of 10 individuals named in Moriguchi's original complaint. The County of Los Angeles, which assumes jurisdiction over the Sheriff's Department, is also named in the ruling.
Superior Court Judge Charles W. McCoy issued a judgment ordering Sgt. James Maurer and Lt. Anthony Torres to pay Moriguchi $58,400 in damages jointly. Maurer was also ordered to pay $5,000 individually, for actions deemed "malicious and oppressive," McCoy said.