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Sheriff’s deputy files suit alleging racial harassment


A sheriff’s deputy who was initially assigned to the Lancaster station is suing Los Angeles County, alleging he was harassed by members of two purported deputy gangs and that he was targeted because of his race.

Deputy Robert Francis Coyle, who is White, alleges racial discrimination, harassment, retaliation, negligence and intentional infliction of emotional distress. He’s seeking unspecified damages in the suit.

Coyle reportedly once aspired to play for the Dodgers, but decided instead to pursue his other dream of serving in law enforcement, according to his court papers, which say he “was excited to go to work for the LASD and took pride in keeping residents safe as a deputy.”

Coyle says he was initially assigned to work in the Antelope Valley, but his father had heart and kidney transplants and the plaintiff asked to be transferred closer to his father’s home.

“Unfortunately, plaintiff was transferred to the East Los Angeles Station, an epicenter of deputy gangbanging,” the suit alleges.

Coyle alleges that soon after he arrived at the East Los Angeles Station, some employees, including members of a notorious group of deputies called the “Banditos,” began targeting him for discrimination and harassment based on his race.

“Plaintiff did not know what he was walking into, but the dominance of the station by Banditos gang culture was palpable,” his court papers allege.

Coyle says he at first tried to ignore the harassment and hoped that after the deputies at the station saw the strong work ethic he displayed, he would be respected and be left alone. But, court papers allege, Latino deputies were “suspicious over him being White and suspicious over him being focused on being a good cop.”

Coyle alleges he was “deeply troubled” by what he believed was a culture at the East Los Angeles Station that encouraged conduct by deputies who violated laws and policies, so he complained to his supervisor.

“The defendants retaliated against plaintiff for speaking up and called him a rat,” the suit says.