New York Civil Rights Attorney Eric Sanders, Esq., of The Sanders Firm, P.C., alleges in a $15 million Notice of Claim filing that the police management of Patrol Borough Manhattan South did nothing to rein in an out of control supervisor who eventually assaulted him
According to the claim, Claimant alleges that in or around December of 2011, Respondent Deputy Inspector John D’Adamo (Caucasian Male – Bronx Ticket Scandal) tried to coerce him to voluntarily transfer into the Patrol Borough Manhattan South Anti-Crime Unit. He refused. Around June 2012, Claimant was involuntarily transferred into the Patrol Borough Manhattan South Anti-Crime Unit by Respondent Assistant Chief Thomas Purtell (Caucasian Male). He was interested with improving his ‘numbers.’
Claimant alleges that upon his arrival, Respondent Sergeant John Rajan (South-Asian Male) made his dislike of Hispanics quite clear. Additionally, while inside of the Patrol Borough Manhattan South Investigations Unit, Respondent Sergeant Rajan improperly and without authorization accessed Claimant’s official department records, disclosing said information to others in the Patrol Borough Manhattan South Anti-Crime Unit including the nature of his sensitive assignment in the Intelligence Division. Claimant reported Respondent Sergeant Rajan’s misconduct to the entire chain of command assigned to Patrol Borough Manhattan South up to and including Respondent Assistant Chief Purtell. Claimant also expressed concern about Respondent Sergeant Rajan’s history of violent conduct towards others, exposing members of the service to needless excessive force and discourtesy complaints, physical injuries as well as civil rights lawsuits. There was never any action taken against Respondent Rajan.
Claimant alleges that on or about August 21, 2012, he sent a text message to Respondent Captain Thomas Traynor’s (Caucasian Male) department cellular telephone expressing his concern about Respondent Sergeant Rajan’s history of violent conduct, as well as complaining about him accessing and disclosing the contents of his official department records to others. Claimant alleges that Respondent Captain Traynor and Sergeant Rajan are close friends therefore Respondent Captain Traynor is willing to cover-up Respondent Sergeant Rajan’s misconduct.
Claimant alleges that on or about February 21, 2013, during a meeting at Patrol Borough Manhattan South with Respondents’ Assistant Chief Purtell; Inspector Paul Piekarski (Caucasian Male) and Lieutenant Frank Basendello, he repeated the same concerns reported to Respondent Captain Traynor. They collectively did nothing about his concerns.
Claimant alleges that on or about April 17, 2013, while inside of Patrol Borough Manhattan South, he told Respondents’ Inspector Piekarski and Deputy Inspector D’Adamo that he did not feel comfortable working with Respondent Sergeant Rajan. Again, they did nothing about his concerns.
Claimant alleges that on or about April 18, 2013, while exiting Patrol Borough Manhattan South, for some unknown reason Respondent Sergeant Rajan tried to physically attack him but, was restrained by two (2) subordinate police officers. After breaking free, Respondent Sergeant Rajan threatened him again. Respondent Lieutenant Jesus Romero (Hispanic Male) as the Integrity Control Officer was aware of Respondent Sergeant Rajan’s misconduct but, did not discipline him or notify the Internal Affairs Bureau.
Claimant alleges that on or about April 19, 2013, while inside of Patrol Borough Manhattan South, Respondent Sergeant Rajan instigated another physical confrontation with him. Respondent Sergeant Rajan ordered subordinate police officers out of the Anti-Crime Office. Claimant ordered the police officers to suit up and prepare to go out on patrol. Respondent Sergeant Rajan physically bumped Claimant hard in his chest area and left shoulder. While Claimant’s back was turned retrieving his police equipment from the department locker, Respondent Sergeant Rajan suddenly and without provocation physically and violently attacked him grabbing the shield and identification holder’s metal chain hanging around his neck. Respondent Sergeant Rajan began choking Claimant the commotion became very loud as he attempted to free himself of Respondent Sergeant Rajan’s stranglehold. Claimant yelled “You are hurting me!” During the commotion, Respondent Sergeant Rajan’s actions caused Claimant to bang his head against the department locker. Respondent Sergeant Rajan applied such great force that the metal chain exploded breaking into pieces. Police Officers Traci McLaughlin (Female), Eric Ahlfeld and Michael Bellagamba had to physically restrain and remove Respondent Sergeant Rajan from Claimant’s neck. Respondent Sergeant Rajan then suddenly and without provocation physically pushed Police Officer McLaughlin.
Claimant alleges that Respondent Sergeant Rajan then ran into the Patrol Borough Manhattan South Investigations Unit. Respondent Sergeant Rajan’s friend Respondent Captain Deodat Urprasad (South-Asian Male) is the Commanding Officer of the unit, the same unit where Respondent Sergeant Rajan improperly and without authorization accessed Claimant’s official department records. Both Respondents’ are members of the NYPD Desi Society, the fraternal organization that represents South-Asian Officers, who have made it very clear in the past that they dislike Hispanics.
Claimant called Respondent Deputy Inspector D’Adamo. Respondent Deputy Inspector D’Adamo told Claimant that he was going to notify the Duty Captain. Claimant complained of pain in his neck, upper back and left shoulder. Claimant had very visible red marks around his neck consistent with strangulation. He complained that “something felt as if popped on the top part of his left shoulder.” Claimant was transported to Bellevue Hospital via police vehicle by Police Officer Thomas Doonan. After several hours, Claimant was treated and released.
Claimant alleges that upon arrival back at the command, heavily medicated, he was met by Sergeant Benevolent Association’s Manhattan North Delegate Respondent Sergeant Cliff Thieleke (Caucasian Male). Claimant requested an attorney. He was never supplied with an attorney. During the conversation with Respondent Sergeant Thieleke, Claimant was advised to lie. Respondent Sergeant Thieleke said “Whatever you do, do not mention the strangulation. If you do, you and Rajan will be suspended and arrested.” Respondent Sergeant Thieleke told Claimant, that if he is arrested they will issue a Desk Appearance Ticket to him. Respondent Sergeant Thieleke also told Claimant, that he has worked with Respondent Deputy Chief James McNamara in the past and he assured him that Claimant would not be suspended as long as he does not bring up the strangulation. Claimant refused to lie. Despite the criminal conduct of Respondent Rajan, this matter was not referred to the Internal Affairs Bureau as required by department policy.
Claimant alleges that shortly thereafter, while heavily medicated, he was compelled to give an official statement during a department interview other employees’ were interviewed as well thereby damaging any potential criminal case against Respondent Rajan. This order was implemented by Respondents’ Assistant Chief Purtell; Deputy Chief McNamara; Inspector Piekarski, and Captain Nicole Papamichael (Caucasian Female). Claimant alleges that Respondents’ Assistant Chief Purtell; Deputy Chief McNamara, Inspector Piekarski, and Captain Papamichael have covered up similar instances of police misconduct in the past.
Claimant alleges that Respondents’ Captain Urprasad; Lieutenant Ariola (Caucasian Male); Lieutenant John Doe (Caucasian Male), and Sergeant George Ebrahim (Caucasian Male) intentionally violated department policy undertaking this criminal investigation.
Claimant alleges during the interview, Respondent Captain Papamichael grabbed him around the neck to simulate the attack of Respondent Sergeant Rajan questioning the validity of his claims while bragging about her skill in martial arts.
Claimant alleges that after the department interview concluded, he was placed on ‘Modified Assignment.’
Claimant alleges that at no time did Respondents’ Assistant Chief Purtell; Deputy Chief McNamara; Inspector Piekarski; Deputy Inspector D’Adamo; Captain Papamichael; Captain Urprasad; Lieutenant Ariola; Lieutenant Doe; Sergeant Ebrahim or Sergeant Thieleke ever notify the Office of Equal Employment Opportunity or the Internal Affairs Bureau about Claimant’s concerns or Respondent Rajan’s misconduct.
Claimant alleges that since April 26, 2012, he has sought emergency medical treatment on three (3) separate occasions. Claimant is in the process of consulting with other healthcare professionals about his injuries.
“Needless to say, the Department apparently has not learned anything about implementing effective preventative litigation measures. We now have another legal controversy with Sergeant Rajan being accused of using unjustified physical force against a person, this time an employee. This unjustified use of physical force was foreseeable. Certainly, if the Department would have acted on my client’s concerns, this would have been prevented. Sergeant Trujillo demands that Sergeant Rajan be immediately suspended without pay and this matter to be referred forthwith to the Internal Affairs Bureau for a complete investigation. Matters such as these reinforce the sad reality that there is currently no viable meaningful mechanism available to protect the Civil Rights of the general public or NYPD employees from corrupt police officers.” Eric Sanders says.
The Sanders Firm, P.C., is a nationally recognized law firm located in New York, NY, serving clients throughout the five (5) boroughs of the City of New York: Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island as well as Nassau, Orange, Suffolk, and Westchester Counties, focused on cases involving Civil Rights, and Civil Service Law