A city police officer is alleging police brasses retaliated against him after he blew the whistle on certain unstated conducts within the police department, according to a recent federal lawsuit.
Patrick Greco, a police sergeant, said in the suit that in 2009 he sued the city over harassment and retaliation, over a whistle blowing incident. Greco filed a second but related lawsuit in 2011, according to the suit.
The city settled both suits for $250,000, but a condition for settlement was a “fitness for duty medical examination.” The officer failed to pass the medical examination, and was deemed unfit for duty, according to the suit. Greco was put on sick leave.
In December 28th, 2012, the city filed papers with the New Jersey Division of Pension and Benefits seeking the officer’s retirement by February 1st, 2013. The suit cites a law that requires the city to provide a copy of the application filed with the state to Greco; however, he alleges he was never provided a copy.
Greco includes in the suit that the medical examination report was also kept from him. Greco only obtained copies of both after “a request was made to the DPB,” reads the suit. “At or about the time Paterson filed the involuntary disability retirement application, it also filed disciplinary charges,” according to the suit.
Greco, who has been employed with the department since 1994, states that the disciplinary charges were levied against him using local ordinances and department regulations.
The disciplinary charges filed against Greco hampered his application with the state, says the lawsuit. Greco names William Fraher, police chief; Glenn Brown, public safety director; and ten other individuals in the department.
Police department “acted under color of law by filing disciplinary charges while its own involuntary disability application was pending, thereby preventing,” said the suit, “[Greco] from assuming other employment and retiring on a service retirement pension.”
Greco alleges that the brasses knew the disciplinary charges mixed with the forced retirement would put him in a state of limbo, preventing him from acquiring other mode of employment.
In September 2013, Greco alleges the Internal Affairs Unit notified him that his paid sick leave time was ending, because one year has elapsed – police contract allows one year of sick time, according to the suit.
Greco states in the suit that he “is without salary other than medical insurance,” and he is unable to obtain private sector employment because he is still employed by the city.
The police sergeant also says the department prevented him from obtaining a 20-year service retirement pension. In March 2014, Greco would have had 20-years with the department.
Greco is seeking compensatory damages, punitive damages, and lawyer fees.