A federal civil rights lawsuit filed against the city two years ago by six Long Beach police officers, who say they were demoted and reassigned shortly after Democrats regained control of City Hall, has taken a new turn.
Eric Rothstein, an attorney for the current and former officers, said that emails sent from a member of the City Council and a member of the Long Beach Democratic Committee show that the current administration conspired to punish the officers for supporting Republican-led coalition candidates in the 2011 election.
City officials strongly deny the allegations and claim that the original emails had been “doctored.” The city on Wednesday called on the U.S. attorney’s office to investigate the matter, and accused the officers of committing perjury.
“This is not a situation where the plaintiffs have merely stretched the truth, but instead the plaintiffs herein have glaringly lied to the court,” City Manager Jack Schnirman wrote in a letter to U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch. “Such fraud and perjury is being done in an effort to extort money from the city defendants. We believe that the United States Attorney’s Office should not let this injustice stand and should institute an immediate investigation into these plaintiffs and file criminal charges against them for making such falsehoods …”
The $39 million suit, first filed in May 2012 in U.S. District Court in Central Islip, names the City Council, Schnirman, Police Commissioner Michael Tangney, the Long Beach Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association and former PBA President Stefan Chernaski. It claims that officers James Canner, Karl Hayes, James McCormack, Jose Miguez, John Radin and Benjamin Tayne were denied their civil rights under the Constitution’s First and 14th Amendments.