FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
New York Civil Rights Lawyer Eric Sanders, Esq., of The Sanders Firm, P.C., alleges in a $5 million Notice of Claim filing that former Police Officer Erica Rivera was terminated in violation of her civil rights
New York, November 13, 2014, according to the Notice of Claim, Ms. Erica Rivera, a Puerto Rican Female former New York City Police Officer alleges on August 12, 2012, she was assigned to the 52nd Precinct, while she was off-duty her ex-boyfriend Danny Perez’s girlfriend Ms. Olivia Perez walked into the precinct to complain about an Instagram picture that was posted with her and Danny Perez together before she was appointed as a police officer with the Police Department City of New York. Ms. Olivia Perez had a conversation with Inspector Joseph Dowling (Caucasian Male). Inspector Dowling ordered her into work early to discuss the Instagram picture.
Ms. Rivera alleges once she arrived at the precinct, Inspector Dowling told her Danny Perez had an arrest record and wanted to know if she was ‘having sex with him.’ She explained this picture was taken long before she was appointed as a police officer, she has not had any contact with him in three (3) years and Ms. Olivia Perez is just trying to jeopardize her job. Ms. Rivera further expressed that Inspector Dowling had no right asking her such personal questions. When PBA Delegate Kevin Rodriguez came into work, Inspector Dowling asked her again if she had sex with Danny Perez. PBA Delegate Kevin Rodriguez told her not to answer that question because it was not narrowly tailored to any formal allegations of misconduct against her besides the fact she already denied having any contact with him in three (3) years. Inspector Dowling threatened to call Danny Perez. Inspector Dowling then reported these baseless allegations to the Internal Affairs Bureau.
On September 20, 2012, Ms. Rivera was ordered to give a statement about the aforementioned allegations to either the Internal Affairs Bureau or Bronx Investigations at the 48th Precinct. She was accused of associating with criminals. Again Ms. Rivera denied having any association with Danny Perez or anyone else with a criminal record.
On November 20, 2012, after completing initial training in the Impact Unit, Ms. Rivera was transferred to the 50th Precinct.
Ms. Rivera further alleges in or about March 2013, Detective Weeden (Caucasian Male) from the Blooming Grove Police Department falsely reported to the Police Department City of New York she was associating with known criminals with the intention of having her fired.
In or about July 2013, Police Officer Bookstein (Caucasian Male) from the Blooming Grove Police Department allegedly falsely reported to the Police Department City of New York Ms. Rivera was associating with known criminals with the intention of having her fired.
On March 6, 2014, Ms. Rivera was notified her probation was being extended to September 6, 2014, because of her Line of Duty injuries did not enable the Police Department City of New York to ‘supervise her.’ Ms. Rivera alleges this was a pretext because she complained about the aforementioned false allegations being made against her and the treatment she received.
On May 8, 2014, Ms. Rivera alleges Sergeant Caceras (Hispanic Male) selected her to drive him. Ms. Rivera alleges Sergeant Caceras expressed an unwanted sexual interest in her. Ms. Rivera alleges she requested Lost Time. Ms. Rivera alleges Sergeant Caceras drove her to a secluded area in the command, Sector G, H, I, J. Ms. Rivera alleges once they arrived, Sergeant Caceras told her she has ‘nice lips.’ Ms. Rivera alleges Sergeant Caceras told her if she wanted Lost Time, she had to give him a kiss. She refused. Ms. Rivera then drove to the 50th Precinct, told her partner and left for the day. Ms. Rivera did not report the incident or the other incidents because she was on probation and afraid of being terminated.
On May 29, 2014, Ms. Rivera was ordered under threat of suspension to say whether she had sex with George Mann. The question was offensive, not narrowly tailored to investigate misconduct. She reluctantly said yes.
On June 1, 2014, when Ms. Rivera entered the elevator in the 50th Precinct, Sergeant Caceras called her ‘Tetona, put those things away.’ Tetona means busty or big breast in Spanish. Later, Sergeant Caceras walked behind and kissed her on the right cheek, then texted her later’ You mad at me. Ms. Rivera responded Yes, Sergeant Caceras texted ‘Crazy about ur ass but u stay fronting.’
On July 30, 2014, the NYPD OEEO told Ms. Rivera the sex related questions were fine. On August 13, 2014, she was fired.
“Well, this case is part of a disturbing pattern of false criminal association cases used to harshly discipline and terminate officers of color, particularly female police officers. Quite frankly, the Department is taking an important ‘reasonable and necessary’ internal policy, that is ensuring its members of the service be free from influences of criminal conduct, intentionally misapplying it for the sole purpose of engaging in discriminatory conduct against officers of color, particularly female officers. More disturbing, managers in the Department continue to falsely believe officers ‘lose their civil rights’ by becoming police officers. Nothing can be further from the truth. Female officers deserve respect, unfortunately, if you are Latina, there is none. The culture in the Department which is a microcosm of society ‘falsely’ promotes Latinas are ‘Caliente’ therefore, are sexual objects to be explored. Ms. Rivera is a young, college educated woman who wanted to be a police officer her entire life. Now her dreams are destroyed based upon racial and gender stereotyping. Despite Ms. Rivera misfortune, she intends to fight what was done to her and to inspire others. As I have said time and time again, despite the change in the administration, the sad reality that there remains no viable meaningful mechanism available to protect the Civil Rights of NYPD employees from race and gender discrimination.” Eric Sanders says.
Eric Sanders, Esq., of The Sanders Firm, P.C., filed Notice of Claim with the New York City’s Comptroller’s Office on November 1, 2014, Notice of Claim with the Town of Blooming Grove Clerk’s Office on November 1, 2014 and Charge of Discrimination with the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on November 3, 2014.
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