LAFD Whistleblowers Claim Retaliation

By Matthew Harwood

Two top commanders within the Los Angeles Fire Department's arson and counterterrorism unit are suing the city for retaliation after they went to their superiors with information that investigations were not being properly carried out, reports the Los Angeles Times.

Battalion Chief John Miller and Capt. Michael Rueda say they were transferred out of the department’s Arson Counter-Terrorism Section after disclosing “violations of state or federal statutes” by members of the unit, according to a lawsuit filed in Superior Court.

The complaint against the city does not specify the misconduct alleged by the two commanders. But two department sources familiar with the case said Miller and Rueda told authorities that, among other things, investigators made at least one false arrest and fabricated evidence in a case.

The commanders' lawsuits come after a city audit discovered that arson investigators failed to keep good records, failed to pursue leads, and failed to analyze crime trends.

While Miller and Rueda have been transferred back to the Arson Counterterrorism Section, they are now under investigation by the internal affairs division, which Rueda's attorney claims is retaliation for exposing the department's misconduct.

"This is a whistle-blower lawsuit," Rueda's attorney Marla A. Brown told the Times

♦ Photo by stevelyon/Flickr


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