In May, police arrested a Los Angeles attorney accused of sending a racially insensitive drawing to the city’s first Black council president. Now that man is suing the city for millions of dollars in damages for his arrest.
Los Angeles ABC7 reports that Wayne Spindler, 46, was taken into custody after he made criminal threats and spewed hate speech at Los Angeles Council President Herb Wesson. Authorities say Spindler submitted a comment card with a doodle of a man hanging from a tree. The drawing also featured a burning cross and triangular-shaped character holding a sign that read “Herb=N*gger,” the Hollywood Patch reports.
Following his arrest, Spindler announced his plans to sue the city; and he’s doing just that. According to the Hollywood Patch, the California attorney filed two claims against the City of Los Angeles Tuesday alleging $775,000 in damages.
Spindler claims accusations by public officials that he’s a racist are ruining his life and running his business as an immigration attorney into the ground.
“They branded me a racist and scared the hell out of the judges and clients,” Spindler told City News Service. He added that he’s been “an emotional wreck” and only gets about three hours of sleep each night.
Per the Hollywood Patch, Spindler’s first claim alleges $25,000 in damages for First Amendment and Brown Act violations. The attorney claims that Council President Wesson “tossed me out of a meeting…and held me in a false light, retaliating for public speech.” His second claim seeks $750,000 for having to post $75,000 bond to be released from jail after his “false arrest,” the local news site reports.
According to City Attorney’s Office spokesman Rob Wilcox, Spindler has filed a total of 14 claims against the city.
The Los Angeles attorney asserts that he’s not a racist nor does he have ties to the Ku Klux Klan. However, ABC7 reports that Spindler often shows up to city council meetings donning a KKK hood with a swastika on it.
Spindler also asserts that the images he drew on the comment card weren’t of Wesson.
“The cross burning is the city burning down from corruption, the hood is city hall coming after us for our money and the tree is me and everybody getting lynched as taxpayers,” he told the news station.
Council President Wesson begs to differ.
“A cross that’s burning, an individual in a KKK hood. He calls me the ‘N’ word and has a photo of me hanging from a tree,” he said of the offensive drawing.
Wesson explained to the Los Angeles Sentinel that Spindler’s antics have gotten increasingly worse over time.
“It has risen to the point that I have serious concerns about my safety, my family’s safety, my staff’s safety and the safety of my colleagues on the city council,” Wesson said.
The city council president has since filed a restraining order against Spindler, requiring him to stay at least 10 yards away from Wesson during council and committee meetings, the Hollywood Patch reports. The attorney was also forced to hand over his firearms to authorities.
According to the Los Angeles Sentinel, Spindler has targeted council members Curren Price and Marquisse Harris-Dawson as well. Both Price and Harris-Dawson are African-American.
“This is the kind of verbiage we get on a routine basis as L.A. City Council, and one of the characters finally put it in writing so now we have proof that this is the kind of abuse that residents, constituents and council members and staff take on a regular basis,” Harris-Dawson said.
Spindler said he may file a federal lawsuit if his claims are rejected.