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El Segundo Police Department Facing Multiple Federal Lawsuits: A Toxic And Retaliatory Culture Revealed

Written By Tamrin Olden

Communications consultant specializing in government, public safety, and law firms.

April 21, 2020

Lipeles Law Group, APC | 310-322-2211 | |

El Segundo, CA – The City of El Segundo has 45 days to accept or deny a claim filed on April 7, 2020, by the Lipeles Law Group. The City of El Segundo, Chief Bill Whalen, and numerous members of Command Staff are listed as defendants against Joseph Cameron, an El Segundo police officer. The claim outlines the department’s long-standing culture and pattern of discriminatory and retaliatory conduct, as well as harassment by department administration.

Mr. Cameron has served as a sworn peace officer for the El Segundo Police Department for ten years. He has also served as the President of the El Segundo Police Officers Association (ESPOA) since 2014. Through his role as the ESPOA President, he has been heavily involved in community outreach through organizing and volunteering for various charities and events like the Main Street Car Show and Santa’s Sleigh.

He also handles various employee-employer matters, speaking up on behalf of the members to address any concerns. He has spoken out against cutting officers pay and benefits, led contract negotiations, addressed inadequate staffing issues, publicly supported city council candidates during elections, and questioned illegal and unethical practices by department administration.

Police officers firefighters, and residents protest cuts at council meeting.
2015 photo of City of El Segundo police officers, Firefighters and residents showed up en masse to protest what they are calling excessive pay concessions despite the city having a $3 million surplus in budget. Protesters stand at door of packed council chambers. Photo by Robert Casillas / Daily Breeze

Subsequently, Mr. Cameron has been retaliated and discriminated against for speaking up and “blowing the whistle” against a toxic culture that fosters illegal and unethical activity. Mr. Cameron has been subjected to unfair discipline, threats, and public slander, amongst other things, for his willingness to speak up on behalf of his members.

Additionally, actions and comments by department administration have sent a clear message that being on the ESPOA Board is a career killer.

This conduct is a clear and serious violation of the law and department policy.

Mr. Cameron and other independent witnesses have also disclosed numerous other examples of inappropriate conduct that has been observed and reported, further proving the ongoing substandard and unethical practices fostered and conducted by members of management.

Mr. Cameron is being represented by Attorney Kevin Lipeles. There are two additional claims with similar allegations by ESPOA Board Members who have experienced retaliation, under the leadership of Chief Whalen, for their union activities. The Lipeles Law Group will file one additional claim/lawsuit, and McNicholas & McNicholas, LLP has filed a lawsuit as well.

“Enough is enough. People in this community know me, and they know how much the El Segundo Police Officers Association cares about our small, tight-knit community. It’s time for the residents and business owners to see what really goes on behind the walls of the El Segundo Police Department. Morale is low, and the department is developing a reputation for being a dysfunctional and undesirable place to work.

Officer Joseph Cameron

Media Contact: Tamrin Olden | | 909.285.4575

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