A Los Angeles jury awarded two police officers $2 million Monday after determining that supervisors had retaliated against the officers for complaining about alleged traffic ticket quotas, the Los Angeles Times reports. Howard Chan and David Benioff, veteran motorcycle officers, alleged that they had been punished with bogus performance reviews, threats of reassignment, and other forms of harassment after objecting to demands from commanding officers that they write a certain number of tickets each day.
Ticket quotas are illegal under state law, because they can pressure police to write spurious tickets to meet the goal. The line between setting a quota and pushing officers to increase their productivity is a delicate one for field supervisors, who are often under pressure themselves to generate more citations. “We’re very hopeful that this will put an end to fleecing motorists on the west side of Los Angeles,” said Benioff’s attorney, Gregory Smith. “Quotas are a direct violation of the vehicle code, and this case was about these officers being asked to break the law.”