A female Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy who alleged her training deputy sexually harassed her on the job has been awarded $850,000.
A Los Angeles Superior Court jury deliberated for about a day before finding in favor of Deputy Concepcion Hernandez Garcia on Wednesday in her sexual harassment suit against the county.
“Plaintiff’s conspicuous transfer in the middle of training left a black mark against her that will have significant and long-lasting effects on (her) reputation and career,” the suit filed in June 2019 stated.
However, in their court papers, attorneys for Los Angeles County argued that Garcia’s version of the alleged harassment “has changed multiple times during this litigation and was repeatedly contradicted by her own testimony.”
Garcia’s training performance “was somewhat questionable, to say the least,” as she was “called out on the continuous failures to meet the elementary training requirements, endangering officer safety, being literally unable to use the basic patrol equipment and otherwise being unfamiliar with the rudiments of her own profession,” the defense attorneys further stated in their court papers.
Garcia started her training as a deputy in March 2018 at the East Los Angeles station, the suit stated. A deputy who is not a defendant in the case was assigned to train her, according to the complaint.
In July 2018, Garcia entered a home with her gun drawn looking for a suspect, the suit stated. The training deputy walked up behind her and put one hand on her buttocks, the suit alleged.
“Not only did (the trainer) grope plaintiff’s buttock, he thrust her forward at the very same time into an unsafe situation, effectively placing her life in danger,” the suit states.
The trainer’s action made Garcia more vulnerable in an already hazardous situation, causing plaintiff to further experience fear and confusion, the suit states.
During subsequent interactions, the trainer went out of his way to brush against Garcia without justification, sometimes making insulting remarks when he realized she was offended, the suit stated.
The trainer embarrassed Garcia with remarks in front of four people arrested during a traffic stop, prompting the arrestees to laugh at her, the suit stated.
“In some instances, (the trainer) was joined by other deputies closely associated with him in these actions,” according to the suit.
Garcia filed an internal complaint against the trainer in mid-July 2018 and was immediately put on administrative leave, making it appear she did something wrong, the suit states. The trainer and the other deputies were not put on leave, the suit stated.
The LASD did not investigate Garcia’s complaints or interview her, the suit alleged.
Garcia, not wanting to continue being allegedly victimized by the trainer, was forced to seek a transfer to another station even though she would have preferred to remain in East Los Angeles because she grew up in the area and still lived nearby, the suit stated. She was reassigned to the Century Station, the suit stated.