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Retired NYPD Captain Sues Pension Board Alleging Discrimination

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

New York Civil Rights Lawyer Eric Sanders, Esq., of The Sanders Firm, P.C., alleges in a lawsuit that Retired NYPD Captain William Gutierrez has been discriminated against due to his race, national origin and retaliated against by the New York City Police Pension Fund

New York, September 21, 2015, according to the lawsuit, Mr. William Gutierrez, a Dominican Male, Retired Captain with the New York City Police Department alleges the New York City Police Pension Fund, Members of the Board of Trustees and other stakeholders charged with managing the pension fund created, supports and condones race and national origin discrimination and retaliation during the two-step interactive process while evaluating Accidental Disability Retirement pension applications.

Gutierrez claims, during the first part of the two-step interactive process, Members of the Board of Trustees adopt significantly more Accidental Disability determinations when the Medical Board approves the Accidental Disability Retirement pension applications of Caucasian officers than Blacks, Dominicans and other police officers of color. He further claims, during the second part of the two-step interactive process, Members of the Board of Trustees approve significantly more Accidental Disability Retirement pension applications of Caucasian police officers with little or no medical documentation ultimately finding causation leading to an award of an Accidental Disability Retirement Pension to the member with enhanced benefits than Blacks, Dominicans and other police officers of color.

On November 30, 2011, Mr. Gutierrez filed a federal discrimination lawsuit in the Southern District of  New York alleging race and national origin discrimination against he and other police officers of color. He complained about the managers in the Internal Affairs Bureau creating and sustaining “bogus” investigations against minority police officers to unfairly discipline them and inhibit their job opportunities in the department.

On January 23, 2013, Mr. Gutierrez, after undergoing numerous surgeries and other medical treatment, filed an application for an Accidental Disability Retirement pension for injuries sustained to his left and right shoulder, rights knee, wrist, back and neck.

On May 14, 2014, Members of the Board of Trustees, remanded Mr. Gutierrez’s application for Accidental Disability Retirement pension benefits claiming his “lack of records” for the period of April 2003 through February 2011. Meanwhile, at least six (6) Caucasian officers and others since 1991 were approved by Members of the Board of Trustees despite their “lack of records.” For example, Former Chief of Department Robert Johnson, Jr. (1991 alleged hearing loss); Former Chief of Detectives William Alee (2005 alleged hearing loss); Former Inspector Peter Winski (2008 or so alleged back); Former Inspector Richard Miller (2010 or so alleged knee injury); Former Deputy Inspector John Bloch (2014 alleged shoulder) and Former Chief of Personnel Thomas Dale (2014 alleged cancer).

Ultimately, the Medical Board approved Mr. Gutierrez’s application for an Accidental Disability Retirement pension three (3) times finding causation.

On June 17, 2014, the Medical Board again approved Mr. Gutierrez’s application for Accidental Disability Retirement pension benefits finding the competent causal factor was the line of duty injury on March 27, 2003, where he sustained injuries to his right wrist.

On June 25, 2014, Mr. Gutierrez settled his federal discrimination lawsuit against the City of New York.

Shortly thereafter, on October 8 and November 12, 2014, respectively, the Members of the Board of Trustees again denied Mr. Gutierrez’s application for Accidental Disability Retirement pension benefits claiming his “lack of records” for the period of April 2003 through February 2011.

“Unfortunately, our preliminary investigation indicates that the New York City Police Pension Fund use race and other impermissible factors during the two-step interactive disability retirement application process. It’s time for the United States Department of Justice to initiate an investigation into the pattern and practices of the New York City Police Pension Fund during the two-step interactive disability retirement application process” says Eric Sanders.

Eric Sanders, Esq., of The Sanders Firm, P.C., filed a lawsuit in the Supreme Court of the State of New York, County of the Bronx Index No.: 304020/15 on September 21, 2015.

About The Sanders Firm, P.C.

The Sanders Firm, P.C. offers those in the New York City area legal services related and connected to civil rights, civil service rights, criminal law and discrimination. We firmly believe in everyone’s individual rights that are described and guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States of America. We understand that our freedoms and liberties are sacrosanct and that they have been won in many and various hard-fought battles. We are committed in every way to protecting your civil rights. We are your voice for justice!

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Eric Sanders, Esq.
President and Owner, The Sanders Firm, P.C.
Business Phone: 212-808-6515

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