Police officers assigned to protect Compton schools against crime have been asleep at the wheel, according to photographs and sworn testimony in a racial discrimination lawsuit. The Los Angeles Times says the photos appear to show several uniformed school officers in the driver’s seats of parked squad cars with eyes shut and, in some cases, heads leaning back. The pictures emerged in a suit against the Compton Unified School District, which operates the 34-member police department. The case was filed by a white ex-officer and two Latino officers who contend that they were treated differently from black colleagues within the predominantly African American department.
Former Officer Mark Shiva, who at one time served as president of the police officers union, and current Officers Victor Ayala and Sergio Reynoso allege that they were hit with racial slurs, ridiculed and retaliated against after lodging complaints against black colleagues. Shiva, who was fired after the suit was filed in 2005, took the photographs within the last two years, according to testimony in the case. Shiva shot the pictures to prove that colleagues were sleeping on duty. According to testimony, all of the officers accused of sleeping in patrol cars are black. But in the background of one photo, a white officer also appears to be sleeping. When the conduct was brought to the attention of supervisors, none of the officers was disciplined, authorities said.