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Black LAPD sergeant files lawsuit against department


Allege ‘wrongfully denied’ position with SWAT

Attorneys for a Black veteran Los Angeles Police Department sergeant who alleges he was wrongfully denied one of two open SWAT positions despite being the best qualified candidate are seeking the personnel records of those competitors chosen over him.

Sgt. Gregory Hoskins' Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit alleges he was denied the job in retaliation for having sued the city for race discrimination over a similar job rejection in 2010. In court papers filed Friday with Judge Michael Small, Hoskins' lawyers at minimum want to see why Sgts. Michael Knoke and Paul Hong were chosen for SWAT positions over him in 2021.

“In this motion, (Hoskins) seeks documents relied upon in the selection process to prove that defendant's proffered reasons for selecting the other officers are pretextual,'' the plaintiff's lawyers state in their court papers filed ahead of a May 29 hearing on their motion.

Hoskins was the most qualified candidate for both positions, according to the sergeant's attorneys.

“In fact, the oral interview board for the May 2021 vacancy recommended plaintiff as the most qualified candidate, but their recommendation was rejected due to plaintiff's 2010 lawsuit (and) instead, Michael Knoke was selected for the May 2021 SWAT sergeant position,'' the Hoskins attorneys contend in their court papers.

Hoskins has been a sergeant since 2003. During the trial of the first lawsuit alleging he was denied a sergeant position in the SWAT team because of his race, LAPD SWAT Lt.  Ruben Lopez and many other SWAT team members testified on behalf of the city, according to the new suit filed in June 2022.

Thereafter, Lopez openly stated often that Hoskins could never work in SWAT “after trying to sue me,'' or words to that effect, according to the new suit.

In 2021, Hoskins competed through a physical fitness test and an interview for two open SWAT sergeant positions, the new suit states.

“Although plaintiff was the most qualified candidate for both positions, Lt. Lopez and/or other department supervisors rejected the plaintiff for the positions to retaliate against him for filing his 2010 lawsuit and instead selected less qualified candidates,'' the new suit alleges.

Hoskins has suffered past and future lost income, including overtime, on-call pay, pension and/or other privileges and benefits and he now has fewer chances for promotions within the LAPD, the new suit states.