A judge today dismissed a lawsuit filed against the city of Los Angeles by a Jewish police officer who alleged he was harassed because of his religion, required to attend services at mosques and transferred involuntarily from a prestigious LAPD unit.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Terry Green said he did not believe the plaintiff, Officer Robert Rothman, was treated differently because he is Jewish.
The judge noted that Rothman is now working at an assignment in the Wilshire Division that is similar to the one he enjoyed within the Counter- Terrorism and Special Operations Bureau before he was transferred.
"I just don't see an adverse employment action," Green said. "He landed on his feet."
None of the actions taken by Rothman's supervisors were motivated by "religious animus," Green said.
According to his lawsuit, filed in January 2012, Rothman joined the CTSOB in November 2009, hoping to perform outreach to the Jewish community, but later found out that the unit was "90 percent focused on Muslim outreach."
For the only Jewish officer in his unit, that meant going to mosques on prayer days and attending meetings with Muslim leaders, according to his suit.
Rothman maintained he was "repeatedly tormented" by two LAPD officers about his Orthodox Jewish hairstyle in front of representatives from the mayor's office and the FBI during a meeting at City Hall in mid-2010. He claims his supervisor said nothing to the two officers.
Rothman says he also complained about a photo published in the New York Times in which two other LAPD officers were seen praying in uniform at a local mosque. Rothman alleged his colleagues violated their obligation to keep their religion separate from their secular duties as police officers.
Green said he agreed with Rothman's lawyers that the officers' actions appeared to be a clash between their religious observations and their secular duties as lawmen. He said he would be "shocked" if he saw another judge wearing a robe in church and receiving Holy Communion.
Rothman's court papers said he was removed in a "midnight transfer" from the CTSOB unit in March 2011 and assigned to a job for which he had no training. He held various other LAPD positions before being given his current assignment at the Wilshire Division, according to the suit.
—City News Service