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Terminated L.A. Airport Police Officer Wins Job Back

A Los Angeles airport police officer who was fired last May has won his job back after a civil service proceeding concluded that his termination for alleged assault with a deadly weapon was based on overwhelming inconsistencies, weak evidence and erroneous statements.

The city's Board of Civil Service Commissioners decided Feb. 28 that Officer Rodney J. Rouzan, a 12-year veteran of the Los Angeles Airport Police Department, should be returned to duty without any loss of pay or benefits.

None of the six charges against Rouzan for allegedly violating department policies were found to be credible by Judy Gust, the commission's hearing examiner. Gust also questioned the actions of interim Police Chief Michael Hymans, internal affairs investigators and Paula Adams, the human resources director for Los Angeles World Airports. All had a hand in Rouzan's firing.

"I'm happy that justice has been served and the truth has now been exposed," said Rouzan, 34, of Lancaster, who is married and the father of two boys. "It's been a living hell for me and my family. I look forward to again serving the public at the airport police department."

Airport officials defended their actions against the officer. In a statement, they said, "Los Angeles World Airports stands by our investigation and the disciplinary action we took. We strive to have the highest conduct by our sworn officers and all other employees. But now that the Civil Service Commission has made its determination, we will abide by it."

According to case records, Rouzan's termination stemmed from a feud and court battle with his neighbor and former business partner, who accused the officer of threatening him and two of his employees with a gun after they repeatedly tried to serve Rouzan with legal documents in the doorway of his home Oct. 15, 2010. A few months earlier, Rouzan officially notified a court that he intended to collect a $4,000 judgment he had won against his former partner.

Commission records state that sheriff's deputies investigated the alleged incident and concluded that no crime had occurred. The deputies also suggested that Rouzan get a restraining order against the men and his former business partner.

After a complaint was filed with airport police, investigators alleged that Rouzan pointed his gun twice at the men, once in the garage and once while running across his property to confront them. Claiming that his actions conflicted with his duties as a police officer and violated policies forbidding illegal behavior, the department fired Rouzan on May 22, 2010.

Gust said in her report that she was not persuaded by the police department's witnesses because of their inconsistent descriptions of the incident and because they had hostile motives stemming from Rouzan's earlier court victory. She noted that the men did not tell sheriff's deputies that Rouzan had pointed a gun at them -- something they later told airport police investigators.

The hearing examiner concluded that Adams, the airport's human resources director, erroneously stated in a memo related to the case that Rouzan admitted displaying his weapon but denied pointing it at the men. Gust noted there was no evidence of such an admission and that Rouzan had stated the opposite.

Gust further ruled that there was nothing to support Rouzan's assertions that he was fired because of his race -- he is African American -- and his union activity as then-treasurer of the Los Angeles Airport Peace Officers Assn.

Comments

  • This is great news and I love to hear these wonderful outcomes! We are loosing too many good officers behind politics and other erroneous charges without fully investigating the allegations. I've been silent for close to ten years about my own wrongful termination at the hands of a large PD in SC! I have been through hell even up to this day and I wish that we would've had a Union or some sort of Civil representation in place here. I really can't speak on any other states but collectively speaking, this is an unforgiving state when it come to any LEO being terminated. I mean seriously we forgive or cut a break to the average citizen or anyone who breaks the law. Exp. reducing of a speeding ticket, pre-trial intervention etc. and the list goes on. But the minute one of us has an allegation against us the departments are ready to destroy an officers life, often time for the media sake or the good of the city, county or state agency. Now I'm not saying or condoning an outright crime or misconduct in office by any officer of the law but i am saying we should all have the right of fairness and to grieve any situation concerning a career ending termination and without repercussion for exercising that right. It becomes too late when we have a situation like the Christopher Doner issue. I'm not at all saying he was right for what he did because that was the wrong way to go about getting his message across but I know all too well what that fellow officer and sailor was going through. This is and has been a problem folks and I just wanted to break my silence on the matter. Please comment on your take or feel free to email me if you care to know what happened to my own situation. Thanks for hearing me out and stay safe out there!!
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