The Police Department, his attorney said, had a “history of discriminatory treatment” and harassment.
Topadzhikyan is one of five Armenian-American Glendale police officers who are suing the city for alleged discrimination and harassment.
Former Glendale Police Randy Adams, current Police Chief Ron De Pompa and Capt. Mike Rock, who were individually named as defendants in the lawsuit, sat and faced jurors in court on Tuesday as both sides laid out their cases.
Topadzhikyan, along with Officers Vahak Mardikian, Robert Parseghian, John Balian and Benny Simonzad, filed a joint lawsuit in 2010 against the Glendale Police Department and the city, claiming discrimination and retaliation because they're Armenian.
In 2012, Mardikian, Balian and Topadzhikyan filed a separate discrimination lawsuit in Los Angeles County Superior Court. That case has been delayed because of the ongoing federal case.
After repeated attempts to get promoted, Topadzhikyan came out on top of a list to become a lieutenant.
He was promoted last Wednesday — a move Topadzhikyan’s attorney pointed out came just days before his trial started.
Still, his attorney said Topadzhikyan had to struggle for years to get promoted within the department and was often passed up for “white males.”
The alleged harassment, his attorney said, has left Topadzhikyan broken.
But attorney Dana McCune, representing the Police Department and the city, argued in his opening statement that Topadzhikyan wasn’t unfairly passed up for promotion because he’s Armenian.