The Los Angeles City Council approved a $1.25 million settlement today for two lesbian Los Angeles police officers who claimed colleagues subjected them to repeated lewd comments and gestures related to their sexual orientation.
In 2011, LAPD officers Linda Gotham and Lynn Whitey — both of whom identify as lesbians — filed a lawsuit alleging that Sgt. Randy Hoffmaster exposed himself to them and made derogatory and sexually suggestive comments.
He also threw paper clips at them and called them inappropriate names, according to court papers.
Another officer, Steve Markow, was also identified in the complaint as having allegedly stuck his fingers into Whitey’s ears.
Matt McNicholas, the attorney for Gotham and Whitey, claimed that until the lawsuit was filed, pleas to supervising officers to correct the situation were ignored.
“I’ve represented over 50 officers over the past 12 years, and these two female officers were extremely brave to come forward and do what they did,” McNicholas told City News Service. “Once you file a suit you become an outcast. But they knew that it was absolutely necessary. And it was because of them that things changed in the department,” he said.
Hoffmaster resigned as a result of an internal investigation by the LAPD, McNicholas said.
City and police department officials were not immediately available for comment.
The case was originally scheduled for trial on March 29.