The Menlo Park City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to settle a lawsuit alleging racial discrimination in the police department.
Under the settlement, the city agreed to pay $55,000 each to three former black officers who allege they were harassed and discriminated against by Sgt. Ron Prickett when working for the city's police department.
In a press release, City Attorney Bill McClure said "the city does not admit any liability or fault and has a longstanding policy against discrimination and harassment of employees."
He said the city continues to train employees on the policy and to enforce it vigorously.
"The causes of action were complex and trial was expected to last for several weeks, involving the testimony of many former and current employees," Mr. McClure said.
Mayor Kelly Fergusson announced the settlement after a closed session of the council.
In a lawsuit filed in San Mateo County Superior Court in October, former officers Keith Butler, Joe Hinkston and Kenneth Clayton allege that Sgt. Prickett "created an intimidating, hostile, abusive and offensive working environment" through a number of actions, including placing white-supremacist images in the workplace and calling their attention to them.
The three officers worked under Sgt. Prickett after he was promoted to patrol sergeant in July 2005.
City Council members have had little to say about the case, often deferring questions to Police Chief Bruce Goitia. Earlier this year, the chief said "outside counsel" has already looked into allegations made by the former officers, and after a six-month investigation, it was determined there were no signs of racism or a hostile work environment in the police department.