Los Angeles Sued by Deputy Sheriff for Retaliating Against Him After Exposing Corruption in Local Jail

Los Angeles, its sheriff’s department (LASD), and a number of department officials and employees are being sued by a deputy sheriff who claims that he was retaliated against for cooperating with investigators, and testifying about, corruption and crime activity within the department.

Noah Kirk was hired as a deputy sheriff charged with maintaining and guarding at the Men’s Central Jail (MCJ), according to the complaint. Kirk worked on a task force looking into the murder of another deputy sheriff. When the task force disbanded because its work was finished Kirk continued to work on other investigations into corruption and criminal activity at the MCJ, including working with the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI).

Kirk testified before grand jury proceedings pertaining to corruption within the department as well as criminal proceedings involving a number of LASD officials and deputies who were indicted.

Kirk claims he “began to sense a great deal of hostility to him from certain quarters in the department.” He was specifically told that “no one in the department trusted him and that he had no friends there.”

He was later instructed by Lt. Johann Thrall to run all his reports to the FBI through him. Thrall suggested to him that he should go back to patrol, and that it would no longer be necessary for him to be involved in any further federal investigations of corruption.

Kirk claims that some of the informers who were assisting him on investigations into gang activity in the MCJ were deliberately being put into harms way by his superiors. He also believes that deputies were instructed not to cooperate with his investigation pertaining to the seizure of narcotics by the LASD, only the MCJ internal narcotics investigation team.

In August 2016, Kirk claims the LASD began taking specific steps to “destroy [his] career and force him out of the LASD.”

He was “transferred out of investigative work and to patrol school against his wishes,” where he was shunned. No one would eat with him and very few would talk with him. His training officer said that Kirk could not be trusted because of his work with federal authorities.

Kirk claims the stress he experienced manifested itself in physical ailments including anxiety, major weight loss, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), resulting in an inability to control his bowel movements.

Kirk requested a transfer out of patrol training for fear that “his bowel problems might lead to [him] defecat[ing] while out on patrol and out of reach of a bathroom.” 

That request was denied. Instead Kirk was instructed to report to work 45 minutes from his home. When he expressed his concerns about his IBS and having to drive so far, the supervisors were not sympathetic.

Two weeks later, the type of accident Kirk anticipated occurred. He claims to have found the experience “extremely humiliating . . . and caused him deep emotional distress.”

Kirk claims that LASD’s refusal to accommodate him and not providing him with an assignment close to a bathroom is, in effect, his de facto termination, all in an effort to punish him for his cooperation in the federal investigations and court proceedings pertaining to the LASD.

Kirk is represented by John Schlaff of Los Angeles who filed the case in the Central District of California.

Image Source: Steve Devol (Flickr)