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Sacramento paid $2.8M in settlements in 2018. See why and who got paid

The city of Sacramento paid about $2.8 million to settle 24 lawsuits in 2018, including four that alleged police officers used excessive force.

The city said in a statement Wednesday it spent a great deal of time and effort on the lawsuits.

“The City of Sacramento places a high value on fairness and fiscal prudence and remains committed to responding to all complaints with a thorough investigation and vigorous litigation when necessary,” the statement said.

Police

The city paid $40,000 to Aaron Namoca, who alleged officers Johnny Lopez and David DeLeon beat him during a traffic stop in 2016.

Namoca and a friend were walking to be picked up by an Uber driver in south Sacramento when two officers pulled up and accused Namoca of tampering with a mailbox, the lawsuit, filed in federal court in 2016, alleged.

When Namoca denied the accusation, an officer punched him multiple times near his head, neck and upper body, dislocating his shoulder and giving him a black eye, the lawsuit alleged. When a lieutenant arrived, Namoca and his friend were released.

The injuries caused Namoca to miss two weeks of work, which caused him to be laid off, the lawsuit alleged.

Lopez and DeLeon no longer work for the city. The lawsuit also named former police chief Samuel Somers Jr. and current Deputy Chief of Police David Peletta as defendants.

Namoca, Arlie Halcomb and Nicolette Jones were detained by city police during separate incidents, but no accusatory pleadings were filed against them. However, their criminal records did not note the incidents were just detentions, according to a class action lawsuit filed in Sacramento Superior Court in 2016. The city agreed to change that practice, to edit the records for all people detained from 2015 to present from “arrested/cited” to “detained,” and agreed to pay $30,000 to the attorney for the case.

The city paid $550,000 to Nandi Cain Jr., who was beaten by an officer in 2017 after jaywalking. As part of the settlement, police also agreed to changes in police procedures, including a random audit process for body camera footage the city must make public, as well as tracking and reporting of jaywalking citations. The officer, Anthony Figueroa, is still employed by the city.

The city paid $25,000 to Kuwese Coreyelle Walker, who alleged officers injured him while arresting him in December 2013. Walker was walking from a hotel to Discovery Park when three officers approached him with their firearms drawn, the federal lawsuit, filed in 2015, alleged. The officers cut Walker’s hands with handcuffs, hit his head while putting him in a squad car, failed to fasten his seat belt, then injured him when they struck a concrete pillar on the way in to the police garage of the Sacramento County jail, the lawsuit alleged.

Sexual harassment

The city paid a woman $27,500 after she alleged her boss sexually harassed her, and that she was denied a permanent position with the city after she reported it.

The woman was hired as a limited-term system support specialist in the city’s utilities department in December 2013. Shortly after she was hired, supervisor Elsie Fong started sexually harassing her, the federal lawsuit, filed in 2016, alleged.

On multiple occasions, Fong fondled herself while talking to the woman, showed her panties and asked her bra size, the lawsuit alleged.

The woman was not hired as a permanent employee because she complained about Fong and because Michael Malone, who was the city’s operations and maintenance manager at the time, was friends with Fong, the lawsuit alleged. Fong, Malone and the woman no longer work for the city.

Racial and disability discrimination/retaliation

The city paid $860,000 to Maryann Canelli, who alleged the city wrongfully terminated her because of an injury in 2016. Canelli, who worked as a program analyst in the city’s human resources department for four years, suffered a workplace injury in 2015 that required her to file for workers’ compensation benefits, a lawsuit filed in 2017 in Sacramento Superior Court alleged. After several months, the city placed Canelli on a mandatory leave of absence, then terminated her for alleged misconduct, the lawsuit alleged.

The city paid $100,000 to Timothy Metcalf, a former employee in the city’s waste division, who said he was discriminated against because of his race and age. Division supervisors Steven Harriman, Enrique Hernandez, and William Skinner created a hostile work environment by racially harassing acts that began in 2013, a lawsuit filed in Sacramento Superior Court in 2013 alleged. Metcalf, Harriman, and Skinner no longer work for the city. Hernandez is an integrated waste general supervisor in the Public Works Department.

The city paid $2,500 to Darrin Hall, a city employee who alleged his bosses discriminated against him because of his race and age. Hall, who works as a waste equipment operator for the city’s public works department, alleged he was overlooked for promotions because he is black and because he is over the age of 40, the lawsuit, filed in Sacramento Superior Court in 2013, alleged. The lawsuit named Harriman, Skinner and Hernandez as defendants.

Struck by city vehicles

The city paid a total of $640,000 to eight people who alleged they were struck by city vehicles. The city also paid $10,000 to a couple who were hit by a light rail train.

Other

The city paid $240,573 to 108 current and former police and fire employees who alleged in a federal 2016 lawsuit they never received overtime pay.

The city paid $15,000 to a minor who alleged he was beaten by an after-school teacher at Brennan Middle School. Sacramento City Unified School District is also named as a defendant in the 2015 lawsuit filed in Sacramento Superior Court.

The city paid $90,000 to G&G Concrete, a city contractor, related to a Civil Wage and Penalty Assessment issued by the California Department of Labor Standards Enforcement.

The city paid $90,000 to Anna Knott, who alleged she was injured when she tripped on a pothole near Willie’s Burgers on 16th Street.

The city paid $25,000 to Dianne Pinney, who alleged she was injured when she tripped on a steel beam sticking out of the sidewalk near 16th and R streets.

The city paid $23,000 to Sharon Wright, who alleged a water main flood in 2011 damaged merchandise at Carol’s Books on Del Paso Boulevard, and that merchandise was moved to a location she could not access.

The city paid $65,000 to SimplexGrinnel LP over an alleged breach of contract for fire alarm replacement at the Pannell Center in Meadowview.

Got a city-related tip about these issues or others? Contact reporter Theresa Clift at 916-321-1090 or tclift@sacbee.com.

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Theresa Clift covers Sacramento City Hall. Before joining The Bee in 2018, she worked as a local government reporter for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, the Daily Press in Virginia and the Wausau Daily Herald in Wisconsin. She grew up in Michigan and graduated from Central Michigan University.
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