Hispanic FBI Agents Claim Retaliation for Successful Discrimination Suit
Nov. 03, 1988
EL PASO, Texas (AP) _ A lawyer said Wednesday the FBI has been retaliating against Hispanic agents who successfully sued the bureau in a racial discrimination case.
About 25 of the 311 agents who joined the suit report being harassed and retaliated against since U.S. District Judge Lucius Bunton ruled Sept. 30 that the FBI had discriminated against Hispanic agents, said Orlando Quintana, an Albuquerque lawyer affiliated with the plaintiffs' legal team.
Quintana on Wednesday was putting together a 50-page affidavit to be filed Thursday in Bunton's court, detailing the stories of five Hispanic agents who contend they have been retaliated against for participating in the lawsuit or commenting about it.
Spokesmen in the four FBI offices named in the affidavit did not immediately return phone calls Wednesday to The Associated Press.
After the two-week non-jury trial ended Aug. 26, Bunton admonished the FBI not to punish any agents for joining in the suit or testifying on the plaintiffs' behalf.
The judge noted that several agents had testified they feared retaliation because, they said, the FBI's ''First Commandment'' is to never embarrass the bureau.
In his 95-page ruling, Bunton said the FBI had discriminated against Hispanic agents by promoting them too slowly, assigning them less-desirable jobs and giving them less recognition for their successes. Damages will be decided later.
The suit was filed by Bernardo ''Matt'' Perez, the No. 2 man in the El Paso FBI office, in January 1987.
In the affidavit to be filed Thursday, Perez complains of being put under administrative inquiry for speaking with reporters after Bunton's verdict was announced, Quintana said.
Fernando Mata, an agent in the Miami field office, testifies in the affidavit that he has been put under administrative inquiry, ostensibly for breaching national security during his testimony, Quintana said.
Mata testified Aug. 16 that he had done some undercover work involving an unidentified foreign country. He also testified he was given the FBI's highest reward in 1983 for his foreign work.
Albuquerque agent James Garay testifies in the affidavit that his bureau car and weapon were taken away as retaliation for testifying, Quintana said.
The FBI ''said he was under medication and as a result he couldn't perform properly,'' said Quintana, who added that Garay denies any medication he receives interferes with his job performance.
Two Los Angeles agents, Paul Magallenez and Rudy Valadez, testify in the affidavit that they have been put under administrative inquiry for talking to a reporter for California magazine, Quintana said. The agents are quoted in the article as saying the Los Angeles FBI office is mismanaged.