By Beatriz Valenzuela, San Bernardino Sun
Posted: 09/19/16 – 6:35 PM PDT | U
SAN BERNARDINO >> A San Bernardino County sheriff’s lieutenant testified during a civil whistleblower-retaliation trial Monday he tried to quash a “petty citations war” between two High Desert sheriff’s stations.
Jonathan Billings said Monday he was trying to smooth over relations with a captain at the Victor Valley Station after motorcycle Deputy Brian Moler wrote a speeding ticket to a clerk from that station but denied he asked Moler to dismiss the traffic ticket. Billings acknowledged he asked the motor officer to change it to a warning in order to keep the peace between the High Desert stations.
The lawsuit — filed by Moler, Deputy Jeff Wetmore and former sheriff’s Sgt. Tim Jordan — alleges Moler and Wetmore were removed from a motorcycle traffic-enforcement assignment after they spoke out over what they called a Victorville Station supervisor’s “illegal traffic-ticket quota.” The lawsuit also alleges they were pushed to dismiss traffic citations written against elected officials, city officials and off-duty deputies.
Jordan, the motorcycle unit supervisor, had to retire because of a hostile work environment, said the group’s attorney, Ontario-based Christopher L. Gaspard, in his opening statement in San Bernardino Superior Court.
Los Angeles-based legal firm Burke, Williams and Sorensen, representing the county, however, say the three were not singled out and instead asserted their exception to decisions does not constitute retaliation on the department’s part.
On the first day of trial, Moler testified both Billings and Capt. Sam Lucia requested the changes and dismissals of the citations issued to deputies, city officials and other community leaders.
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