A man has sued West Covina, its police chief and West Covina police officer Tyler Kennedy, whom he claims falsely arrested him in order to have an intimate relationship with his ex-wife.

The lawsuit was filed in Los Angeles Superior Court and seeks unspecified damages. It also alleges West Covina police officers, with the tacit permission of city government, regularily discriminated against Hispanics and other minorities.

As a result, the lawsuit alleges, Police Department and city officials refrained from disciplining rogue officers.

"Said policies, proceedures, customs and practices called for (city officials) by means of inaction and coverup to encourage (West Covina police officers) to believe that improper

Tyler Kennedy (SGVN/Staff photo by Leo Jarzomb)

use of searches and seizures including searches and seizures against members of minority groups was permissible," the suit filed Friday by Montebello attorney Arnoldo Casillas alleges.

Saku Ethir, attorney for Kennedy, did not return four calls for comment Tuesday and Wednesday. West Covina City Attorney Arnold Alvarez-Glasman also did not return calls for comment.West Covina police Chief Frank Wills said Tuesday he anticipated the filing, which seeks unspecified damages for the plaintiff's lost wages, court costs, and pain and suffering.

"We've expected this lawsuit for many months," said the police chief. "Bringing the conduct of all the parties involved in this matter out into the light of day will serve the public's interest."

Wills, a former Pasadena police officer and former San Marino police chief, said it would be inappropriate for him to comment further.

While Mayor Shelley Sanderson said she stands behind the Police Department, the lawsuit threatens to cripple West Covina's already beleaguered budget, Councilman Mike Touhey said.

The City Council voted last week to cut $1.7 million from the Police Department's budget.

Over the past several months West Covina has racked up hundreds of thousands of dollars in attorneys' fees related to Kennedy's alleged misconduct, Touhey said.

"It's all alleged (misconduct) right now, but it doesn't look good" for the city, Touhey said.

"I believe there are probably more (lawsuits) coming, that's the sad part," Touhey said.

Kennedy, a sex crimes detective, had an intimate relationship with the man's ex-wife while he conducted an investigation into the sexual assault allegations she lodged against the man, according to the lawsuit Casillas filed.

"This was done pursuant to and in accordance with an established custom and practice whereby officers of the West Covina Police Department were permitted to and regularily did pursue and maintain intimate relationships with the victims in the sexual abuse cases they were investigating," attorney Casillas alleges in the suit.

Prosecutors dropped sexual battery charges against the man last year after they found out about the relationship between Kennedy and the man's ex-wife, according to court documents.

But they didn't do so before Kennedy arrested the man and asked a judge to hold him without bail, according to court documents.

It is the policy of the newspaper to refrain from identifying alleged victims of sex crimes.

Kennedy appeared in court on March 20, 2009 and asked Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Lesley Green to hold the man without bail.

Kennedy told Green the man had raped his ex-wife and the case was pending. Rape charges were never filed against the man, according to court records.

But based on Kennedy's statement, Green raised the man's bail to $100,000, according to court documents.

Police had previously released the man without bail, court documents show.

The lawsuit goes on to allege Kennedy's misconduct prevented the man from receiving promotions at his job.

The man has worked for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power for 12 years.

The lawsuit also alleges Kennedy's supervisors, including Wills, should have known Kennedy was unfit to be a police officer much less a sex crimes investigator.

In 2006, Kennedy wrote and self-published a sex advice book entitled "The Magic Triangle."

The 180-page book purports to offer advice to men seeking "entrance to the magic triangle" - a woman's vagina.

Kennedy proposes in the book that a woman's sole purpose is to serve as the target of mens' sexual exploits, according to the lawsuit.

Kennedy was suspended from the Police Department and put back on patrol last year after his relationship with the man's ex-wife came to light in court, according to sources inside the Police Department.

The Police Department suspended Kennedy for a second time earlier this year after a different 49-year-old alleged victim of sexual assault reported she was propositioned and sexually harassed by the officer.

He remains on leave.

"I believe the West Covina Police Department did everything within legal parameters," Sanderson said. "If they knew about something they would have definitely taken it into consideration."