A federal court has ruled in favor of the City of Beverly Hills in a case filed by the former President of the Beverly Hills Unified School District, Brian Goldberg. The litigation stems from the March 2015 arrest of Goldberg on misdemeanor battery charges. The arrest was made after a female neighbor at Goldberg’s Beverly Hills condominium complex reported that he had shoved her to the ground following an altercation in the elevator. Goldberg denied the woman’s allegation, claiming he merely “bumped into her” after she confronted him about his unsafe driving in the building’s parking lot.
When officers from the Beverly Hills Police Department (BHPD) arrived on the scene, they reported seeing fresh bruises on the woman. They took Goldberg into custody and kept him overnight for processing before releasing him. In response to media queries, the BHPD also issued a press release about Goldberg’s arrest after his release.
Criminal charges against Goldberg were later dropped. But, Goldberg brought a civil action against the City in 2016. In his complaint, he claimed that his arrest and undue overnight detention were wrongful retaliatory actions, taken in response to revelations he had made about then BHPD Chief, Dave Snowden.
Specifically, Goldberg’s Third Amended Complaint alleges that it was “common knowledge amongst BHPD officials including Chief Snowden, that Plaintiff, in his capacity as the School District President, had been calling attention to and exposing the appearance of corruption and collusion involving the BHPD and Evidenced Based, Inc. (“EBI”), a private security company. Among the acts Plaintiff had exposed were payoffs by EBI to Snowden, and the refusal of the BHPD to provide on-campus security services to the School District, a refusal that appeared calculated to force the School District to hire EBI for security services.”
Goldberg later moved his lawsuit to federal court, after adding claims for violations of his Constitutional rights.
In its July 6 ruling, the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California granted a motion for partial summary judgment that completely vindicated the City. There is nothing left now of Goldberg’s claims of false arrest and Constitutional rights violations against the City.
The Court’s ruling states that Goldberg offered no evidence that his arrest or detention were the result of a specific intent to violate his rights. Goldberg, said the Court, produced no evidence “that the arresting officers knew of [Goldberg’s] criticisms of Chief Snowden,” or that “Chief Snowden participated in any way in either his arrest or detention.”
The Court added:
“The undisputed facts show that [Goldberg’s] public criticism of Chief Snowden was not a substantial or motivating factor in [Goldberg’s] arrest or detention Although Plaintiff contends that Chief Snowden had an incentive to punish him given his public criticism, [Goldberg] does not identify any evidence that any officer involved in either his arrest, booking, or release knew of those criticisms before his release from BHPD custody.”
The City has expressed relief that the case has concluded in its favor.
“We are very pleased with the Court’s decision which confirms the allegations were groundless and that BHPD followed appropriate procedures in this case and treated Mr. Goldberg properly,” City Attorney Larry Wiener told the Courier.