LOS ANGELES -- For months, the two Los Angeles Police Department bloodhound handlers saw their supervisor harass their female colleague.
Over and over, they saw him try to massage her shoulders, unsolicited, and heard him make suggestive comments about her body. The supervisor often showed up to her calls, something he didn't do as much with her male counterparts.
When they complained on the woman's behalf, Officers Elliot Zibli and David Dooros suffered backlash so severe that they feared for their safety. They said they were denied tactical bloodhound training, and weren't given adequate equipment and support during searches for violent suspects.
Eventually, Zibli resigned. Dooros is still on the force.
The supervisor, meanwhile, was transferred to the internal affairs group, the division that investigates officer misconduct. He remains with the department.
"Instead of taking care of the bad apple, they literally destroyed us," Zibli told the Los Angeles Times. "We blew the whistle on the wrong person -- one with connections."
A jury has awarded Zibli and Dooros each more than $4 million for the reprisals they faced, a massive verdict in a retaliation case that comes on top of a $1.6 million settlement for the female officer who was harassed. Jurors deliberated for only about half a day before awarding Zibli $4.4 million and Dooros $4.2 million.
An LAPD spokesman declined to comment.
"These men came forward to back up their female colleague who was being sexually harassed and got nothing but punished," said Greg Smith, an attorney representing the plaintiffs. "The LAPD left only the perpetrator of sexual harassment unscathed."
The city attorney's office said it is considering appealing the decision. "We are reviewing all of our options," said Rob Wilcox, a spokesman for the office.