City settles suit alleging a police quota and a bias against military reservists

Nicholas Emmerling

BY ALLISON LEVITSKY
Daily Post Staff Writer

The city of Mountain View has agreed to pay $325,000 to former police Officer Nicholas Emmerling, who sued after he was fired for going on military leave.

The settlement was signed last month, weeks after Emmerling won an appeal of his lawsuit.

Emmerling said he was fired in May 2014 after working for the police for six years because he was serving in the National Guard, supposedly preventing him from writing the number of tickets and making the number of arrests required, essentially claiming the department has a quota system.

Several personnel evaluation reports criticized Emmerling for failing to execute enough self-initiated arrests despite his supervisors urging him to make more arrests.

In April 2013, an evaluation states that Emmerling “consistently looks for, although not always successfully, traffic stops between calls for service. I feel that his number of subject contacts isn’t as high as it could be because Emmerling looks for a particular type of violation, and sometimes misses other opportunities.”

The supervisor who wrote that evaluation encouraged Emmerling to “investigate further whenever he has the slightest suspicion, and to always look for an opportunity to ‘make something out of nothing.’”

He sued the city in May 2015, but Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Maureen Folan dismissed the suit in February 2017.
Emmerling appealed the decision and won on appeal on Feb. 21.

Evidence of bias against other reservists

Associate Justice Allison Danner wrote that Judge Folan should have considered the testimony of other military reservists who described similar discrimination from the department.

Emmerling had offered declarations and deposition testimony from four other reservists who had worked as Mountain View police officers: Eilaine Longshore, Ranjan Singh, Frank Rivas and Spencer Lawrence-Emanuel.

Longshore testified that a supervisor told her that her “outside commitments are a concern” and that she had not demonstrated her “dedication” to the department.

Singh testified that a supervisor told him that he was denied a position on the department’s bike patrol team after a year of military deployment.
A supervisor allegedly told Singh, “you’ve been gone and we don’t have a lot of evaluations to base your work habits or ethic … off of.”

Both Longshore and Singh were passed over for jobs in favor of non-military members.

Officer asked if he wanted to ‘play Army’

Rivas testified that his boss had told him that supervisors thought he needed to decide whether he wanted to “play Army or be a police officer.”
On another occasion, police Lt. Greg Oselinsky asked Rivas if an upcoming training day that he needed to take off was for that “gay military stuff” or “homo military stuff.”

On another occasion, Sgt. De la Ossa allegedly told Rivas that “as long as (he was) in the (military) reserves, (he) probably wouldn’t get promoted.”

Lawrence-Emanuel, a reconnaissance marine in the Marine Corp Reserves, testified that the department fired him without any warning or counseling two weeks after he said he would be taking military leave.

Not a ‘good fit’ for the department

Upon his firing, he was allegedly told that he was not “a good fit” for the department.

At one point during his probationary period, Sgt. Michael Soqui, who was responsible for evaluating Emmerling’s performance in February 2014, stated something to the effect of “Spencer’s going on vacation next week” even though he knew Lawrence-Emanuel was taking military leave.

1 Comment

  1. Explains why Mtn. View is such a speed trap. The resolution of every encounter with the public shouldn’t be an arrest or a ticket. The city shouldn’t rely on the police to be a revenue generator.

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