Adam Bereki, now 30 and a gay former cop, successfully sued the Huntington Beach Police Department for $2.15 million over sexual orientaiton harassment claims during his 2006-07 gig. And then he went on to write a book about it. It’s called Friendly Fire, is based on actual events, and should, according to Bereki’s old boss, be placed in the fiction section.
Since winning his suit, which came on the heels of dozens of Bereki filing dozens of misconduct filings, the ex-police has had the time, and the means, to do some traveling. (He won a $150,000 lump sum payment and receives $4,000 a month for the rest of his life.) Southeast Asia. Western Europe. South America. It’s also where he found the time to write — an exercise, he says, where he learned to stop “hat[ing] myself as a young gay man.” And it has him viewing his discrimination stint as “the best thing that could have happened to me. They were brutal experiences but it kind of was someone slapping me in the head with a frying pan and saying you need to change your perspective.”
Except not everybody is so thrilled about his new writing career. Huntington Beach Police Chief Ken Small, who was Bereki’s top boss, says “based on the excerpts people have shown me … this book definitely belongs in the fiction section,” claiming the book is filled with inaccuracies. Bereki disagrees.
“Though California is viewed by much of the country as one of the more gay-friendly states in the union, the Huntington Beach Police Department seemingly occupies an island of its own, pinned in a period of time that runs prior to enlightenment,” he wrote in the book’s forward labeled “The locker room.”
“The organization is well stocked with a wealth of good ol’ boys who may as well have a sign hanging from the door of their clubhouse reading, ‘No fags allowed.’”
If only they did. It would’ve made an excellent dust jacket photo.