Five Glendale police officers of Armenian background have filed a federal lawsuit in Los Angeles, alleging discrimination and harassment by the Glendale Police Department, an employee rights law firm announced today.
The complaint, filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles last week, alleges "systemic and continuous discriminatory, harassing and retaliatory conduct based on ethnicity" by the Glendale Police Department.
The lawsuit also alleges that Armenian civilians have been consistently mistreated by this police department responsible for policing Glendale.
"In this day and age, it's remarkable the Glendale Police Department has allowed itself to systemically discriminate against an ethnic group that, in large part, fled their homelands to avoid ethic persecution," said Carney Shegerian, the Santa Monica-based lawyer who filed the suit.
The city of Glendale is home to about 198,000 people, roughly half of whom are of Armenian descent, he said.
"That a police department in the heart of this Armenian community employs only 15 Armenian officers out of its approximate 270 person workforce is statistically outrageous," the attorney said. "The odds that this occurred without any discriminatory intent is statistically impossible."
A call for comment to the Glendale City Attorney's Office was not returned yesterday.
The five officers, who cumulatively have worked for the Glendale Police Department for over 40 years, allege continuous direct discriminatory and abusive practices against themselves and the general public.
They allege failures to promote, continuous harassment and ultimately retaliation against them when they spoke out against the discriminatory practices, according to the lawsuit.
They also allege that Armenian suspects are over-charged by fellow officers who have made numerous disparaging comments about Armenians and the Armenian community they are supposed to serve and protect.