A Los Angeles police sergeant who was repeatedly disciplined over controversial posts on his personal Facebook and Instagram accounts is suing the LAPD and its top commander for violating his constitutional rights, alleging they punished him simply for expressing political viewpoints they didn’t like.
Sgt. Joel Sydanmaa, a 24-year veteran of the department who lives in Orange County, claims in his federal lawsuit in U.S. District Court that he has “never done anything improper on the job,” yet was reprimanded twice and briefly suspended for “expressing his opinions, as a private citizen, while off-duty, on his personal social media accounts, about matters of public concern.”
Sydanmaa alleges the punishments — which followed posts he made about Muslims, the appointment of Brett M. Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court amid sexual assault allegations, and the shooting death of the late rapper Nipsey Hussle in South L.A. — were doled out solely because his opinions “run counter” to the LAPD’s “preferred political stance.”
Josh Rubenstein, an LAPD spokesman, said the department could not comment on ongoing litigation.
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