Jury finds in city’s favor in lawsuit brought by former BPD recruit alleging harassment, wrongful termination

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BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — A Kern County jury returned a verdict in favor of the city Wednesday regarding a sexual harassment and wrongful termination lawsuit brought by a former Bakersfield Police Department recruit.

Hillary Bjorneboe was seeking at least $6 million in a suit filed after her firing in 2015. She alleged she was terminated after complaining of harassment by two BPD officers, including her field training officer.

The jury’s ruling means the city won’t pay her a dime.

“I’m extremely pleased the city was vindicated, especially the two officers,” said attorney John Szewczyk, who represented Officer Steven Glenn, one of the men she accused.

Bjorneboe’s attorney, Allyson K. Thompson, shared a tearful hug with her after the verdict was read and apologized to a couple people in the courtroom who attended on Bjorneboe’s behalf.

Thompson said she was shocked and disappointed by the verdict, and feels as if justice wasn’t done.

Bjorneboe was one of four women to graduate in August 2014 in a BPD class of 33 officers. Shortly after her employment, she said, Officers Travis Brewer and Glenn called her derogatory names and made inappropriate comments to her.

A few weeks into her employment, Bjorneboe said, Brewer directed her not to book marijuana she confiscated during a call. She said she followed his instructions but later told a sergeant about what happened.

Internal affairs and criminal investigations followed.

Szewczyk said the jury viewed a video where Bjorneboe was questioned as part of the criminal investigation and admitted to falsifying the report regarding the marijuana case.

The District Attorney’s office did not file charges and Bjorneboe was reinstated to her position in January 2015, but nine days later fired under the official reason that she didn’t pass probation, according to the suit.

Bjorneboe said a veteran officer told her she was actually fired because of her claims of misconduct and sexual harassment.

Her training officer, Travis Brewer, resigned from the department. Glenn remains employed with the BPD.

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