Former West Covina PD officer alleged ex-colleagues called him ‘Wuhan’

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A judge's gavel

LOS ANGELES  — A gay former West Covina police officer of Chinese descent has tentatively settled his lawsuit against the city in which he alleged management did nothing when, after the 2020 coronavirus breakout, colleagues called him “Wuhan” and made derogatory remarks about his sexual orientation.

Christopher T. Huynh’s Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit alleged discrimination, harassment and retaliation. On June 4, Huynh’s attorneys filed court papers with Judge Barbara M. Scheper notifying her of a “conditional” settlement of the case and the expectation a request for dismissal will be brought by Dec. 31. No terms were divulged.

Wuhan, China is believed by many to be the early epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic. Officers began calling Huynh “Wuhan” in March 2020, according to the suit, which further stated that they made offensive comments about the plaintiff being gay as well as foods favored by Asians.

“Despite command staff being present and hearing the … comments being directed towards plaintiff and others, nothing was done to curtail the harassing conduct,” the suit alleged.

Protests by Huynh and two sergeants regarding the alleged offensive conduct by the other officers fell “on deaf ears,” according to the suit.

Instead, management retaliated against Huynh by subjecting him to unwarranted scrutiny, denying him a pay increase and ultimately firing him due to alleged dishonesty, the suit filed in October 2022 stated.

Huynh, who once was used by the WCPD to interpret for Cantonese speakers, was humiliated by the alleged conduct toward him by fellow officers, the suit stated.

In their court papers, defense attorneys maintained that Huynh’s claims were meritless.

“Simply put, plaintiff was terminated for his dishonesty in relation to his involvement in an on-duty car accident,” the city’s lawyers argued in their court papers. “The city never considered plaintiff’s sexual orientation, race or any complaints he alleges he made in making the decision to terminate him.”

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