Modesto Bee headline on May 3rd. 2018 “Stanislaus County pay $1.4 million in lawyers’ fees in ‘limp, lame and lazy’ lawsuit”, but here is the Back Story…
May 3rd, 2018 (Originally published on October 23, 2017)
Debase the living, Give Concern and Compassion for a photograph
To begin with, our hearts go out to the family of slain Deputy Wallace – your grief should not have been compounded by the acts of a deviant who destroyed the photograph on the memorial to him. Our thoughts have never left you throughout your struggles.
No, the report is in regards to the folks in our local government and the Sheriff’s Department in particular – their hypocrisy knows no bounds. It is beyond the pale that the same organizations and people who publicly impugned, harassed, defamed and insulted Deputy Wallace when he was alive, now see it fit to feign indignant outrage over his photographs vandalism.
Much easier to frame yourselves as caring about a brother in the thin blue line, to push the Hollywood vision of tears at a funeral playing Amazing Grace on the bagpipes when the victim of harassment is reduced to a photograph that cannot speak back and let you know the opportunistic hypocrites that are part of the culture.
In a 2013 review – it was found that 41 complaints were lodged against the Sheriff’s Department since Christianson took office in July 2006. Legal claims include numerous internal lawsuits alleging everything from sexual harassment, racial prejudice and abuse of disabled workers. At this time it is approaching $18 million dollars in legal fees and settlements.
No doubt that many in the local government, and members of the Sheriff’s Department, are genuine in their grieving of Deputy Wallace, who was slain in the line of duty. However from the County Counsel John Doering opposing his widow for earned benefits, to Sheriff Christianson himself (and his “minions”) who delighted in calling a good man and effective Deputy “Limp Lame and Lazy.” Perhaps the Sheriff may have some empathy now that he is the one who is Limp, (Lame and Crazy.)
Being on the “Limp Lame and Lazy” list meant more than just an insult – it was a list maintained by the Sheriff and his command staff, and repeated by all of them. It meant you were a target – and in the case of Deputy Wallace – Christianson, his administrative staff and the County did not allow Wallace to return to work after a series of valid documented on-duty injuries.
Deputy Wallace was injured in line of duty, cleared to return to work, yet due to his “membership” in Sheriff Christianson’s “Limp, Lame and Lazy” club, his livelihood and career were ruined. He had to result to legal action in order to resume the duties as a Deputy that he so loved – and was so beloved by his community.
Sheriff Adam Christianson publicly apologized for using the term “limp, lame and lazy” in the subsequent civil trial brought by Sheriff’s deputy, Dennis Wallace, after being fired by Christianson in 2011.
During the trial, Christianson claimed that Wallace was fired because the Sheriff was dealing with staff reductions forced by budget cuts. Wallace said that Christianson’s “apology” doesn’t seem to be sincere.
Wallace felt he lost that trial – in which he sought $468,000 in unpaid wages and benefits and damages for emotional distress – because his attorney wasn’t allowed to demonstrate the department’s culture of devaluing employees.
“I can live with the loss,” Wallace said at the time, in May 2013. “The disheartening part is today a bully got stronger.”
In almost prophetic foreshadowing of the future to come, Deputy Wallace said “Any apology is great, but why wasn’t it done at trial? Why wasn’t it done before trial?” Wallace said, “If he was truly sincere, why didn’t he apologize at trial?”
The attacks on him did not end in his death in the line of duty. County Counsel John Doering took on the widow, successfully reducing the $468,000 owed to him from his discrimination claim, to nearly half that amount ($253,000.) At last report, the Counsel’s office was still fighting the death payment through workers’ compensation, as it disputes it on the grounds that it is excessive and unreasonable. We can only hope this has been settled justly with the widow who lost her husband in the line of duty.
We have to remind the Government to examine themselves, and wonder when it was that they removed their coat of public protectors/servant’s, and donned the garments of the cynical bureaucrats who will say or do anything in furtherance of their own agendas, and cover the misdeeds of the selected and protected.