Capitol Police sued over alleged mistreatment of female officer
September 5, 2013
Capitol Police Officer Alice Valdez accuses several fellow officers of discriminatory, hostile and inappropriate conduct toward her in a lawsuit filed Wednesday in Carson district court.
The complaint charges at least two officers made numerous comments and engaged in sexually inappropriate conduct. It accuses Christian Normandy, who supervised firearms training, of repeated hostile comments about Valdez's size and gender and telling other officers he wouldn't pass her range test next time.
"Normandy treated Plaintiff differently on the firearms range and spread malicious gossip about Plaintiff," the complaint by lawyer Jeff Dickerson states.
It says Officer Bill Walker also questioned whether Valdez could do the job because she is a woman and that she was forgetful because of her age. She is one of two female Capitol Police officers older than 40.
The complaint says that when Walker was confronted, he shouted at Valdez and said the department lowered its standards by hiring officers such as her.
Then-Chief Jay Logue gave Walker only a warning, Valdez says, adding Walker continued the abuse and retaliation.
The complaint accuses Sgt. Rich Mraz of doing nothing when told of Normandy's actions and allowing the misconduct to continue.
It also accuses Officer Chris Aranyos of making repeated sexist comments and remarks toward Valdez, as well as rubbing up against her.
It charges that Sgt. Mike Rubio made references during conversations with Valdez about watching porn on his last job. It also says Rubio lied to superiors about why Valdez went home without writing a report about an incident, failing to tell them he told her she could complete the report the following day.
It charges he told Valdez that "maybe you should have considered another career, like a stay-at-home mom," and that he minimized her allegations against other officers, doing nothing to correct them.
It charges that the sexual harassment of Valdez has been observed by other officers, gubernatorial staffers and state employees in the building.
The complaint says Valdez has made complaints through formal channels, but no disciplinary action or counseling has taken place.
Valdez's lawsuit seeks unspecified damages, claiming a hostile work environment, discrimination and retaliation.
The officers named in the lawsuit have been on leave most of the summer. While the department declined to discuss why the others were on leave, Mraz was listed as on medical leave following hip-replacement surgery.