Anaheim Police Chief Receives $750,000 Settlement in Exchange for Resignation

Former Anaheim Police Chief Raul Quezada.

Embattled Anaheim police chief Raul Quezada will receive $750,000 in exchange for his resignation, according to a settlement with the city released Wednesday.

The settlement was to resolve a claim by Quezada of “intolerable” working conditions in the department caused in part by allegations from a police captain that Quezada took more vacation days than he reported, allegations that Quezada said were payback for reporting misconduct by the captain.

An internal city investigation, and an inquiry by the Orange County District Attorney’s office, later cleared Quezada.

Quezada also claimed to have reported audio and video of Assistant City Manager Kristine Ridge, then the human resources director, abusing her authority, although he didn’t specify what Ridge did.

The settlement was finalized Tuesday, making Quezada’s resignation effective immediately, according to city spokesman Mike Lyster. Deputy Police Chief Julian Harvey will serve as the acting police chief until a permanent replacement is found.

“This settlement is in the best interest of all involved. It sets aside a claim brought by our former chief and reflects compensation he could have seen before becoming eligible for retirement,” said Lyster in a statement.

Although the settlement ends Quezada’s dispute with the city, it doesn’t validate or hold the city liable for the allegations made in Quezada’s legal claim, according to the settlement.

Quezada will receive a $250,000 check as compensation for the economic damages he claimed, plus $500,000 for “non-economic damages and for attorneys’ fees and costs,” according to the settlement.

Quezada, 48, will also be entitled to retiree health benefits when he reaches age 50.

The city announced Quezada’s abrupt retirement in a press release Monday. His departure comes after calls for his resignation from rank-and-file and management police unions.

Quezada has been with the Anaheim Police Department since 1996 and became acting police chief in May 2013 before being named to the permanent position that December. He is the first Latino chief, and was named to the top post amidst unrest that followed two police-involved shootings in 2012.

The city is also looking to fill two other top posts, for city attorney and city manager.

Contact Thy Vo at tvo@voiceofoc.org or follow her on Twitter @thyanhvo.