Customs agent is awarded $200,000 Jury says he
faced bias and retaliation.
The San Diego Union - Tribune San Diego, Calif.
May 16, 1998
A federal court jury awarded $200,000 yesterday to an
agent of the U.S. Customs Service, saying that Ricardo Sandoval faced
discrimination and retaliation after he tried to report bigotry inside the
agency. After the verdict, several jurors voiced personal admiration for
Sandoval and said they believed that corruption and discrimination may have
been systemic within the internal affairs unit where Sandoval worked in 1992.
It takes courage not to walk away when someone does something to you
thats wrong, said juror Mike Cannon, 33, a desk supervisor for a
Mission Valley hotel. A lot of people would like to do what Ricardo
Sandoval did but, unfortunately, not many do. Thats why these problems
continue to exist.
David Ross, one of two attorneys who represented
Sandoval, said he expects the government to appeal the verdict, which not only
gives Sandoval $200,000 but allows him to claim up to $500,000 more in back
pay, expenses and attorneys fees.
Sandoval fought the Customs Service for six years
after a promised promotion failed to materialize just weeks after he reported
what he said was a neo-Nazi ring inside the agency in San Diego in November
1992. The jury never heard evidence about the ring, however.
Copyright SAN DIEGO UNION TRIBUNE PUBLISHING
COMPANY May 16, 1998