“The Burbank Police Department has been proven to have ethnic harassment within its department,” said Karagiosian’s attorney, Solomon Gresen, after the jury’s verdict came in. “Det. Karagiosian had complained for years and the jury’s verdict should demonstrate to the city that this is a problem that needs to be immediately addressed.”
Named “Officer of the Year” in 2007, Karagiosian is still employed with the department. The lawsuit, Gresen said, was not about economic damages.
And even with the jury coming down on his side, Gresen said his client feared the verdict would create a whole new set of problems back at the department.
“Mr. Karagiosian is gratified that the jury found in his favor, but fears retaliation from the city attorney’s office and the Burbank Police Department,” Gresen said.
While the jury must still make determinations on more specific questions, Burbank City Atty. Amy Albano said the city was disappointed with the verdict.
“What was interesting in the verdict, is that the amount awarded was reduced,” Albano said, noting that the amount was lower that than the suggested $225,000 because the jury felt Karagiosian could have avoided some of the damages because some of the incidents were not reported to the city.
“The city takes issues of harassment very seriously,” Albano said. “When we are informed, we take appropriate action. That was done in this case. If not informed about an issue of harassment, the city is not able to take an action.”
Jurors deliberated Karagiosian’s case for about a day before delivering a verdict.
“I think it’s appalling the city has spent millions of dollars in defense costs to deny these claims when they could’ve spent far less in training and dispute resolution and they would have already fixed the problem,” Gresen said.
“We didn’t ask for $25 million,” Gresen added. “Why is the city spending millions to defeat a $225,000 claim? It’s a horrible use of taxpayers’ money.”
Karagiosian was one of five former and current officers in the lawsuit. The part of the case involving Officer Cindy Guillen is expected to start May 2.
The three other officers were dropped from the lawsuit, although there is a separate case pending in federal court.
Attorney for Burbank police detective asks for $1M
Karagiosian trail: Burbank officer tells of years of ethnic harassment, discrimination
-- Maria Hsin, Times Community News