An LAPD Commander facing termination after being accused of being drunk in public has sued the City of Los Angeles, claiming that because she is female she faced discrimination and retaliation during an internal police administrative trial.
“There is compelling evidence that men were treated differently than women,” Nicole Mehringer’s lawsuit said.
The case was filed two weeks after she and her attorney made a separate government claim that accused the LAPD of mishandling the termination process, thereby making it difficult for Mehringer to appeal an administrative board’s recommendation in court.
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That administrative trial panel, called a Board of Rights, said in December that Mehringer should be fired as the result of her April 2018 detention by Glendale Police Department officers, during which she was found asleep in the front passenger seat of an unmarked LAPD sedan.
Mehringer’s attorney tried unsuccessfully to convince the Board that her punishment was unfair because it was far more severe than penalties imposed on male officers who allegedly committed more serious alcohol-related offenses on and off duty.
“Mehringer attempted to demonstrate during the BOR that the charges against her were discriminatory and retaliatory. Male LAPD employees who engaged in far worse conduct were not sent to BORs,” the new lawsuit alleged.
The Board’s termination recommendation is now before Chief Moore, who may either terminate Mehringer or reduce the penalty.
The Mehringer incident in Glendale on April 27, 2018 was widely publicized. A portion of it was recorded by a bystander on cellphone video.
The video showed Mehringer being led out of the passenger side of the sedan by several Glendale officers.
Those officers also made several audio recordings of the encounter, according to a legal document obtained by NBC4 last year. The LA County District Attorney’s Office charged Mehringer in September with a single misdemeanor count of public intoxication, according to a criminal complaint filed in LA Superior Court. Mehringer has pleaded not guilty.
She also filed a governmental claim last October that alleged her detention by the Glendale officers was improper. That claim accused the officers of false arrest, false imprisonment, defamation, and other alleged harms during the incident on Brand Boulevard. A claim generally has to be filed before a city can be sued in state court. The Glendale Police Department did not comment on the claim.
An LAPD sergeant who worked with Mehringer pleaded not guilty to DUI charges stemming from the same incident in Glendale. James Kelly was allegedly found asleep in the driver’s seat of the Dodge.