A Los Angeles police officer who once served as part of Mayor Eric Garcetti's security detail claims one of his advisers sexually harassed him for several years in the presence of the mayor, who did nothing to stop it, according to a lawsuit.
Officer Matthew Garza alleges in the complaint that he was subjected to unwanted harassment from Rick Jacobs, a senior political adviser to the Democratic mayor.
Garza began working as part of Garcetti's protection detail in October 2013, KTTV-TV reported. Officers assigned to the team would routinely accompany the mayor to and from functions and various engagements in and outside Los Angeles.
Between 2014 and 2019, Garza alleges Jacobs would hug him without consent and make unprofessional remarks like: "you’re so strong and handsome," "your muscles are so tight" and "I love me my strong LAPD officers."
A Los Angeles police officer who was once assigned to Mayor Eric Garcetti’s security detail claims in a lawsuit that an aide sexually harassed him for years in the presence of the mayor. (REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson)
Other instances included Jacobs pulling Garza toward him for tight hugs when both men shook hands, according to the complaint. Garcetti was present for around half of the occasions when Jacobs engaged in inappropriate behavior but remained silent, the lawsuit said.
The complaint claimed Jacob's behavior was "silently condoned by the Mayor and City of Los Angeles."
Garza's job duties required him to frequently interact with Jacobs, who often talked about his young male lover and about having "rough sex" with his partners and being attracted to younger men, the lawsuit said.
Garza was forced to interact regularly with Jacobs around 2017 as Garcetti was mulling a presidential run, the suit said.
In a statement, Jacobs called the lawsuit "pure fiction."
"This lawsuit is a work of pure fiction, and is out of left field," he said. "Officer Garza and I worked together for many years without incident. I will vigorously defend myself, my character and my reputation."
Garcetti's office did not return requests from Fox News for comment. The LAPD declined to comment, citing a longstanding department policy of not commenting on pending litigation.
Jacob's behavior didn't go unnoticed by mayoral staffers, the suit said. One staffer allegedly told Garza, "I'm sorry you have to deal with that, he's such a pig."
On June 18, Garza refused to return to the security detail assignment after taking a leave of absence for a back injury. He cited the "touchings" and vulgar behavior directed at him by Jacobs, the lawsuit said.
As a result, he lost his rank and took a salary decrease and lost $20,000 in annual overtime, according to the complaint.
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Jacobs has been previously accused of wrongdoing. He allegedly used the power of the mayor's office to threaten a group over its opposition to a tax proposal supported by Garcetti.
Tracy Hernandez, founding chief executive of the Los Angeles County Business Federation, said Jacobs told her in 2018 that members of her group who campaigned against the tax measure would be barred from doing business with the city for four years, the Los Angeles Times reported.