LOS ANGELES – A female Los Angeles police detective who was in a relationship with a colleague is suing the city, alleging her career has been negatively impacted by the “paramilitary organization’s” attitude toward women who complain of sexual harassment in the male-dominated department.
Detective Kristin Cho’s Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit alleges gender harassment and failure to prevent sexual harassment. She seeks unspecified damages.
A representative for the City Attorney’s Office — which handles the defense of litigation against the LAPD — could not be immediately reached for comment on the suit brought Thursday.
Cho was hired by the LAPD in 2008 and became a detective in 2019 assigned to the Newton Division, the suit states. She was in an intimate relationship from July 2019 until October 2020 with another detective, according to the suit.
Shortly after the relationship ended, Cho began working at the 77th Street Community Police Station, where her ex-boyfriend also was assigned, according to the suit. Her former flame began sending her “unwanted and harassing” text messages with references to intimacy, the suit alleges. He also glared at her in the detective squad room and ostracized her, the suit states.
Although Cho was new to the division, her former boyfriend had worked there for many years and was well-known, so her other colleagues began isolating her as well, according to the suit.
Cho believes her ex-boyfriend had previously been the subject of one or more sexual harassment complaints dating back to 2011 or earlier, so the LAPD knew or should have known that he could subject the plaintiff and other women to harassing conduct, the suit states. Despite this alleged knowledge, the department failed to take appropriate action against the other detective that could have prevented his harassment of Cho, the suit states.
After having worked there for less than five months, Cho was forced to request a temporary transfer out of the 77th Street station to the Southwest Community Police Station from March 2021 to February of this year to escape the increasingly hostile environment, the suit states.
The temporary transfer will hurt Cho’s ability to promote or obtain preferred highly sought positions in the LAPD because her short-term stay at the 77th Street station will be viewed with suspicion by supervisors deciding on which candidates are promoted, according to the suit.
“Further, female LAPD officers who report sexual harassment are unfairly stigmatized because the LAPD is still a highly male-dominated paramilitary organization,” the suit states.
Cho’s health and reputation also have been damaged by all of the circumstances combined, the suit states.