Yakima Settles Police Officer Lawsuits

YAKIMA -- The three officers were demanding a total of $9,000,000 for claims of job and sex discrimination as well as sexual harassment. The settlement is roughly two percent of that figure. The money will come from both the city's risk management account and its insurance company.

This is the news release issued by the city of Yakima:

"The City of Yakima and three members of the Yakima Police Department (“YPD”) have jointly agreed to settle lawsuits that arose during the administration of former police chief Sam Granato, who retired in January of this year.

Sergeant Rod Light, Sergeant Brenda George, and Officer Stacey Andrews had each filed separate lawsuits, but decided to seek a consolidated settlement of their cases. Through a mediation process overseen by David Soukup, a retired judge who served in both Seattle Municipal Court and King County Superior Court, Light, George, and Andrews agreed to a settlement totaling $160,000.

The settlement will be paid almost equally from a liability policy the City has through Cities Insurance Association of Washington/Travelers and a City risk management fund. Light, George, and Andrews will decide how the settlement will be divided between them.

“The settlement brings to a close what could have been a long and expensive process for everyone involved,” said City Manager Dick Zais. “The City is comfortable with the settlement and satisfied that these cases have been resolved.”

The lawsuits filed by George and Light both involved issues related to their duties as part of the Yakima Police Athletic League (“YPAL”) staff. George alleged that because she had reported improper behavior of another YPAL staff member to Granato, she had been, “…wrongfully denied further opportunity for career advancement…” and “…subjected to gender discrimination and demeaning sexist comments…” by Granato. Light claimed that because of his involvement in reporting improper conduct at YPAL, he had been “…subjected to retaliation, abuse and improper conduct…” by Granato.

Andrews’s case primarily focused on a sexual harassment claim against Granato and included an allegation of retaliation by the former police chief.

“Sergeant George, Sergeant Light, and Officer Andrews are looking forward to continuing to provide outstanding service to the Yakima Police Department and to the citizens of Yakima,” said attorney Bill Pickett, who represented the three YPD employees. “Everyone involved believes the settlement of these claims is a positive step in the right direction for the Yakima Police Department, the City, and the community,” said Pickett."