A Los Angeles County Superior Court jury on Wednesday awarded $3.6 million to a Los Angeles police officer who said he was demoted and suffered retaliation when he stood up for a sexually harassed colleague, reports the city’s Times. Officer Donald Bender was stripped of a rank and kicked out of the department’s canine bomb unit at LAX after he came to the defense of the only woman in the unit, who was subjected to lewd jokes and innuendoes and excluded from training sessions, according to Matthew McNicholas, Bender’s attorney.
It was the second multimillion-dollar jury verdict in the last three months resulting from retaliation claims. In September, a jury awarded $3.1 million to an LAPD officer who said he was penalized for reporting a superior’s racial epithets and possible embezzlement. Additionally, the City Council is scheduled to vote next week on yet another large payout to settle the case of Patricia Fuller, the female officer whom Bender said he supported. City Councilman Dennis Zine, a former LAPD sergeant, said the verdicts were an indication of gaps in investigations by the department’s professional standards bureau and internal affairs. He called for the Police Commission’s civilian watchdog to investigate the problem.