Jury Awards $8.6 Million In LAPD Whistleblower Retaliation Suit

A jury on Tuesday awarded $8.6 million to an LAPD bloodhound handler and his former colleague, who both said they suffered a backlash for coming forward to say that their unit chief sexually harassed a female member of their team and falsified overtime claims.

The Los Angeles Superior Court jury deliberated for a half day before finding in favor of Elliot Zibli and David Dooros, who were emotional as they heard the clerk for Judge Yolanda Orozco read the whistleblower-retaliation verdicts in their favor.

Zibli, who is no longer with the Los Angeles Police Department, was awarded $4.4 million and Doros received $4.2 million.

Both said afterward that they were confident that by speaking the truth, they would prevail. They also said that they would discourage any young person considering a law-enforcement career from signing up with the Los Angeles Police Department.

“I have almost 30 years and I never thought I’d say that about the department I once loved,” Dooros said.

Zibli, 54, first began working with police dogs in 1998 and became a bloodhound handler in 2015. Dooros, 52, has been a dog handler since 1998 and switched from narcotics animals to bloodhounds in August 2015.

Sgt. Joe Danny Garcia was put in charge of the bloodhound unit in 2015. Soon thereafter, Garcia began to harass the plaintiffs’ colleague, Karolin Clarke, by making inappropriate comments, massaging her shoulders and pressing his body up against hers, according to trial testimony.

Dooros and Zibli later went to management to allege that Garcia was harassing Clarke and falsifying his overtime claims. Instead of taking corrective action, the K-9 unit supervisors undertook a pattern of retaliation against Zibli and Dooros, according to the plaintiffs.

Zibli and Dooros said they were denied additional training, not given adequate weapons and backup officer support during searches.

Zibli said he resigned in July 2017 because he was concerned about his health and safety.

Though Dooros is still with the LAPD, he says he will formally retire earlier than he would have.

Clarke, 47, also sued the city and reached a settlement. Clarke was in court with her former colleagues for the verdict.

From www.dailynews.com

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