Sandra Spagnoli became the first female police chief of Beverly Hills in 2016. Since then, she’s been nothing but trouble.
In the past three years, over 20 department employees have filed civil lawsuits or employment complaints against her, accusing Spagnoli of all types of professional misconduct, including making derogatory remarks about people’s religions, sexual orientations, and ethnicities, and denying them opportunities because of their identities.
This week, department employee Dona Norris was awarded $250,000 after a jury determined she had been the target of homophobic and racist abuse from Spagnoli.
It all started when the police chief learned Norris was a lesbian and responded by saying, “Ew! Gross!”
Another time, she told Norris that if she wanted to attend the department holiday party, she would have to “dress Mexican.”
The jury also awarded $250,000 to Beverly Hills Police Lts. Michael Foxen and Shan Davis and $350,000 to Lt. Renato Moreno, who also suffered various forms of workplace abuse at the hands of Spagnoli, costing the city a grand total of $1.1 million.
And that’s just for one lawsuit.
In a separate case this week, the city settled an age discrimination lawsuit against Spagnoli brought by a retired forensic laboratory employee named Clark Fogg, agreeing to pay him $300,000.
“I think the city needs to wake up and smell the coffee, as they say,” attorney Brad Gage, who is representing a number of the nearly two dozen lawsuits brought against Spagnoli, said on Tuesday. “It needs to realize that there is a problem in the 90210 that needs to be corrected.”
At trial, Spagnoli, who insists she’s “not racist,” admitted to making several of the remarks people have accused her of, including expressing disgust towards LGBTQ people, but she claims none of it was meant to be offensive.
To which we only have one response: “Ew! Gross!”