Ex-deputy subjected to Mel Gibson’s anti-Semitic rant must be reinstated

Marcy Oster

Los Angeles County Sheriff deputy James Mee speaking to a reporter Monday, July 31, 2006, as he arrived home in Calabasas, Calif. The allegations of anti-Semitism during the drunken driving arrest of actor-director Mel Gibson on Friday, July 28, stemmed from a leaked arrest report that quoted Gibson as saying,

Los Angeles County Sheriff deputy James Mee speaking to a reporter Monday, July 31, 2006, as he arrived home in Calabasas, Calif. The allegations of anti-Semitism during the drunken driving arrest of actor-director Mel Gibson on Friday, July 28, stemmed from a leaked arrest report that quoted Gibson as saying, “The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world,” and asking deputy Mee, “Are you a Jew?” (Nick Ut/AP Images)

(JTA) — The sheriff’s deputy who arrested actor Mel Gibson and was subjected to his anti-Semitic rant in 2006 must be given his job back, a commission ruled.

The Los Angeles County’s Civil Service Commission ruled Wednesday that James Mee, who is Jewish, should never have been fired from his position following a 2011 incident involving a drunk driver who crashed into a Santa Clarita gas station, the Los Angeles Times reported. Mee was accused of violating the department’s rules on pursuits.

Mee has said he was subject to religious discrimination and a hostile work environment after arresting Gibson in 2006 in Malibu, California, for driving while intoxicated. He claimed he was passed over for promotions because he complained about purging the report on Gibson’s arrest of the slurs, as directed by his superiors, ultimately ending in his firing in 2012.

“It has been a long three-year fight,” Richard Shinee, Mee’s attorney, told the Times. “This is 100% just because of that day he arrested Mel Gibson for drunk driving.”

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Shinee said the department fired Mee after the county paid him $50,000 to settle a religious discrimination lawsuit that Mee brought over his treatment following Gibson’s arrest.

Mee will receive back pay and benefits from the day of his firing.

When Gibson was stopped on the Pacific Coast Highway on suspicion of driving under the influence, he asked Mee, “Are you a Jew?” and then ranted, “The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world.” Mee included Gibson’s remarks in his initial report to illustrate how drunk the actor was, but said that superiors told him to put the Gibson slurs in a separate report not available to the public.

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