Gay Discrimination Trial starts

Jury selection commenced this week in the discrimination suit
brought by former Santa Barbara gay police officer Ruben Lino
against the City of Santa Barbara and the S.B. Police Department.
Lino quit the force in September 2003 after three years as a sworn
peace officer — and eight more as a scout and reserve
officer — charging he’d been frozen out by his fellow officers
after complaining about repeated homophobic remarks by a sergeant,
Lino’s superior officer. The sergeant allegedly said, regarding a
case of a gay juvenile sodomized by an adult: “That’s okay, they’re
all going to burn in hell anyway.”

In court papers, Lino claimed he consistently received stellar
personnel evaluations until he testified in court in support of a
gay public works employee who claimed he was denied a promotion
based on his sexual orientation. (The city prevailed in that
trial.) Lino quit the department in 2003, charging he was not given
adequate back-up by fellow officers while on patrol. Lino also
claimed Chief Cam Sanchez informed him his job would be waiting for
him if he changed his mind. But when he tried to rejoin the force a
month later, Lino said, he was denied his position by a superior
who used a bogus bad credit report as the pretext. Lino further
charged that no one in the department investigated his claim that
the report was faulty. City attorney Steve Wiley declined to
comment on the case, which is expected to last several weeks.

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