An LAPD bloodhound handler testified Tuesday that the alleged retaliation he suffered for reporting the sexual harassment of a colleague kept him from being promoted and impacted his health.
“It’s just eroding every part of who I am,” 52-year-old David Dooros told a Los Angeles Superior Court jury hearing trial of a lawsuit he and former colleague Elliot Zibli filed against the city of Los Angeles.
Both officers said they suffered a backlash for reporting that their boss, Sgt. Joe Danny Garcia, was sexually harassing a female member of their unit, Karolin Clarke, by allegedly showing up without good reason during her search calls with her dog, making inappropriate comments, massaging her shoulders and pressing his body up against hers.
Dooros said he worried that even after Garcia left their unit, Garcia could still do the same things he had done to Clarke to “somebody else’s daughter, to somebody else’s mother.”
Following their reports, Zibli and Dooros claim they were denied additional training, appropriate weapons to defend themselves and back-up officer support during searches. Dooros also said he was passed over for a dog training position in favor of another candidate who was less qualified.
As 54-year-old Zibli did Monday, Dooros occasionally became emotional while on the witness stand, including when he testified that he recently learned that his “through the roof” blood pressure has damaged his heart. He said he’s been ostracized by fellow officers who consider him a “snitch” and, like Zibli, he believes that LAPD members have followed him, saying that “nobody makes three right turns” behind you unless they are tracking you.
Asked by his lawyer, Gregory W. Smith, if he has sought therapy, Dooros said he has not because doing so would allow the department to say he has mental issues and that his gun should be taken away when he retires.
“I’ve put away too many bad guys to have that happen,” Dooros said.
Though Dooros is still with the LAPD, he says that his work conditions caused him to enter a program in July 2016 in which he will formally retire earlier than he otherwise would have. He said that had the alleged retaliation not occurred, he would have stayed up to five more years.
Dooros said he grew up in the Harbor area and had his first LAPD assignment in the Harbor Division. He has been a dog handler since 1998 and switched from narcotics animals to bloodhounds in August 2015.
The 47-year-old Clarke also sued the city but reached a settlement.
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