Richard Caruso, 35, sued the CDC in 1997 alleging that it unfairly disciplined him and failed to protect him from threats and harassment after he told the FBI that Corcoran prison guards staged prisoner fights and then shot combatants. The $1.7 million paid to Caruso is the largest settlement ever paid to a state employee whistleblower, according to The Sacramento Bee.
The settlement was prompted by California's new governor, Gray Davis, who felt that settling Caruso's retaliation suit made more sense than continuing to pay attorneys to defend the state, according to The Bee.
During internal investigations into the Corcoran shootings, Caruso was the only guard CDC filed a disciplinary action against. In addition to charging retaliation by the CDC, Caruso has repeatedly said that he was completely abandoned by his union, the California Correctional Peace Officers Association (CCPOA).
"He feels they left him out to hang," one of Caruso's attorneys, Leroy Lounibos, told The Bee. "He had a duty to report all crimes he sees, but the union has an exception, apparently, that you don't report crimes committed by fellow officers. It feeds the public's perception that the union is a bloated, arrogant monolith that is spewing the mother's milk of politics and money."
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