Former NYPD Highway Supervisor Files Lawsuit 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, June 23, 2017 – New York Civil Rights Lawyer Eric Sanders of The Sanders Firm, P.C., alleges in a federal civil rights lawsuit 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 lawsuit 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, Operations Coordinator Stephen Brathwaite, 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, Brathwaite and Sanford and caused Khazin “emotional distress,” the lawsuit alleges.
The Highway Patrol No. 3 management team later “transferred (Khazin) in retaliation to the 9th Precinct.”
The lawsuit filed in Brooklyn Federal Court 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, Integrity Control Officer Lt. Michael Diaz and Operations Coordinator Stephen Brown.
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 lawsuit, he was first approached by white Second Platoon Commander Lt. Marc Levine in 2015 and told him that Harge is a “trouble-maker and sexually harasses women.”
But the lawsuit alleges that Khazin learned what Levine told him about Harge was “false.”
Starting in August 2015, the lawsuit alleges, Khazin suffered 10 months of hell from the ranking management of Highway Patrol No. 3: Levine, Ge, Lipke, Brathwaite and Sanford.
The lawsuit alleges Khazin later noticed that the management style of the supervisors at Highway Patrol No. 3 changed drastically with Levine 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 lawsuit 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 United States 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 he regularly met his quota of 70 summonses in spite of the harassment by working harder than Caucasian officers in similar 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.”
Mr. Khazin filed his federal lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, Docket No.: 17 cv 3779 on June 22, 2017.
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