FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Former NYPD Highway Supervisor Files $12.5 Million Claim Against The City Alleging Police Brass Retaliated Against Him For Refusing To Join Campaign To Discriminate Against Black Officer In The Elite Unit
New York, December 16, 2016 – New York Civil Rights Lawyer Eric Sanders of The Sanders Firm, P.C., alleges in a $12.5 Million Notice of Claim that former NYPD Highway Patrol Sergeant Valentin Khazin faced unfair discipline and was ordered to meet illegal ticket summons quotas by his bosses as retaliation for refusing to participate in their campaign to discriminate against Black Officer Dana Harge who also worked in the elite unit.
The claim filed against the City of New York alleges that Second Platoon Commander Lt. Marc Levine, Executive Officer Highway District Deputy Inspector Sylvester Ge, Integrity Control Officer Lt. Jonathan Lipke and Commanding Officer Capt. John Sanford subjected Khazin to “unfair discipline, unfavorable assignments, less training, overtime.”
The harassment and discrimination at the hands of Levine, Ge, Lipke and Sanford and caused the Khazin “emotional distress,” the claim alleges.
The Highway Patrol No. 3 management team later “transferred (Khazin) in retaliation to the 9th Precinct.”
The claim filed in the New York City Comptroller’s Office further alleges that NYPD management continued to discriminate against Khazin in his new assignment under the direction of his new bosses: Commanding Officer Vincent Greany, Second Platoon Lt. Michael Lau and Integrity Control Officer Lt. Michael Diaz.
Khazin had previously met all professional standards on the job until his bosses targeted him for refusing to help them discredit Harge, Sanders said.
Khazin alleges, in the claim, he was first approached by white Second Platoon Commander Lt. Marc Levine in 2015 and told that Harge is a “trouble-maker and sexually harasses women.”
But the claim alleges that Khazin learned what Levine told him about Harge was “false.”
Starting in August 2015, the claim alleges, Khazin suffered 10 months of hell from the ranking management of Highway Patrol No. 3: Levine, Ge, Lipke and Sanford.
The claim alleges Khazin later noticed that the management style of the supervisors at Highway Patrol No. 3 changed drastically with Levin illegally ordering “Performance Goals or Quotas” of 70 summonses per police officer assigned to the Second and Third Platoons; and 50 summonses per police officer assigned to the First platoon.
The harsh and illegal work rules instituted by Levine were directed at minority officers but “not imposed on other officers,” the claim alleges.
Khazin is Russian. Harge is Black.
Harge filed a federal discrimination lawsuit last year in Manhattan Federal Court alleging the city’s elite Highway Patrol unit “permits ‘token blacks’ in its ranks while “overtly discriminatory practices prevents minorities from…rising to positions of importance…even when minority officers demonstrate clearly exceptional policing skills.”
“Supervisors at Highway, pursuant to policy, intentionally interfere with minority officers’ ability to perform, to the detriment of the public, in order to eliminate minority officers” from being promoted,” the Harge lawsuit alleged.
Harge also filed other discrimination complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the NYPD Equal Employment Opportunity Office alleging bias in the workplace.
The Harge lawsuit alleges that the pattern of institutional discrimination against Harge included denying him high profile assignments to escort dignitaries, parade details and, specifically, being denied the prestigious honor of driving paralyzed detective Steven McDonald.
The Harge lawsuit also alleged that Harge regularly met his quota of 70 summonses in spite of the harassment by working harder than Caucasian officers in similarly situations.
Attorney Eric Sanders of The Sanders Firm P.C., said that it is a privilege to be a member of the NYPD but “something is seriously wrong when you have ranking police brass, including the commanding officer of a unit, engaged in illegal employment practices on the job to discredit honest, hardworking police officers.”
“They law is very clear when it comes to illegal employment practices and these highway patrol supervisors must be held accountable,” Sanders said. “Clearly there is a long history of problems in the NYPD Highway Patrol, particularly Unit No. 3. We can no longer continue to ignore these allegations of illegal employment practices unless this is the type of behavior being condoned by the Police Commissioner.”
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!
Eric Sanders, Esq.
President and Owner, The Sanders Firm, P.C.
Business Phone: 212-652-2782