LA Detective Wins $1 Million in Lost Wages - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

10/04/07

LA Detective Wins $1 Million in Lost Wages

LOS ANGELES (AP) - A jury has awarded more than $1 million in damages to a police detective who claimed she was wrongly demoted for complaining about alleged sexual misconduct by her boss.

The jury deliberated for several hours before finding yesterday that the Police Department retaliated against Ya-May Christle for complaining about former Deputy Chief Michael Berkow.

John W. Sheller, representing the city, said he was disappointed by the jury's findings.

Christle, 43, sued the city and Berkow in May 2006, claiming her career suffered while other officers who had affairs with him got special treatment. Christle worked as a sergeant in the internal affairs department, but after she complained about his alleged misconduct, she was assigned to a "dead-end" job as a detective.

Berkow acknowledged having an extramarital affair with a female officer, but denied Christle's allegations.

Before the start of testimony, Superior Court Judge William F. Fahey dismissed Christle's claims that she was the victim of sexual harassment and endured a hostile work environment. The judge also dismissed claims against Berkow, who has since become chief of police in Savannah, Ga.

The ruling eliminated Christle's chance of being awarded punitive damages. The jury awarded her money for wages lost because of her reassignment.

Jurors said they were persuaded in large part by the LAPD's delay in giving Christle an annual review so she could use the information to seek promotions. They rejected Christle's claims that she was the victim of racial discrimination and that her protections under the Peace Officers Bill of Rights were infringed upon.

Gage said Christle, who is Asian, will stay with the LAPD and continue seeking promotions.

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