LOS ANGELES – A Los Angeles Police Department officer who alleges he was sexually harassed by ex-Mayor Eric Garcetti’s former senior adviser has tentatively settled his lawsuit with the city.
Attorneys for Officer Matthew Garza filed court papers on Thursday notifying Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Curtis A. Kin of a “conditional” resolution of the case and that a request for dismissal will be filed by Nov. 3. No terms were divulged and it was not immediately clear if the accord is subject to approval by the City Council. The judge on Friday canceled the scheduled Sept. 5 start of trial.
Garza sued in July 2020, alleging sex and gender harassment. He was assigned for several years to the LAPD’s police protection unit for the ex- mayor. He says he was required to drive Garcetti to and from mayoral engagements and accompany him on out-of-town trips and that former mayoral adviser Rick Jacobs often accompanied them.
Garza alleges that Jacobs subjected him on hundreds of occasions to unwanted and unwelcome sexual comments and touching, including tight hugs and shoulder rubbing, from 2014-19.
When the city found out about Garza’s harassment claims in June 2020, it hired attorney Leslie Ellis and her investigative law firm to conduct a probe into the officer’s allegations against Jacobs and report her findings.
After interviewing witnesses, Ellis presented a report in 2021 in which she concluded that Garza’s allegations were not credible and that the behavior he complained of never occurred.
In his deposition, Jacobs, asked if he ever hugged Garza, Jacobs replied, “It’s possible” and said he had the impression it was consensual. Jacobs acknowledged that some of his handshakes with Garza could have resulted in his pulling the officer into an embrace as “sort of a bro hug.”
Jacobs acknowledged that some of his handshakes with Garza could have resulted in his pulling the officer into an embrace as “sort of a bro hug.” But Jacobs denied making comments in Garza’s presence concerning the size of male private parts and also said he never motioned the officer to sit on his lap.
GOP Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa released a staff report in May 2022 concluding that Garcetti, the Biden administration’s nominee to be US ambassador to India, “likely knew, or should have known” that Jacobs “was sexually harassing multiple individuals and making racist comments towards others.”
Garcetti’s nomination was stalled as several senators said they needed more time to gather information about the allegations. However, the senate confirmed Garcetti by a 52-42 vote in March.