Retired Lieutenant Awarded $1.2 Million For Racial Discrimination

The Roselle Police Department violated the civil rights of a 26-year veteran of the department, a jury determined.

Roselle, NJ – A retired Roselle Police Department (RPD) lieutenant was awarded of $1.2 million on Tuesday, after a Union County jury determined that his department had violated discrimination and civil rights laws.

Lieutenant Bradley Downing, who is African American, applied for an open captain’s position at the RPB in 2013, the NJ Advance reported.

He achieved the highest score among the applicants, and had no history of disciplinary actions with regards to his decades of service at the RPD, according to court documents.

On the day that the exam results were announced, Lt. Downing was written up for minor disciplinary infractions, including forgetting to endorse a report, making improper copies of paperwork, and being eight minutes late to one of his scheduled shifts.

The infractions, issued by RPD Chief Gerard Orlando, rendered Lt. Downing ineligible for the captain’s promotion, and ultimately forced him into retirement, the NJ Advance reported.

Lt. Downing filed the racial discrimination lawsuit in 2013, according to the Amsterdam News.

The jury concluded that the RPD and Chief Orlando violated the state’s discrimination and civil rights laws, and awarded Lt. Downing $350,000 for emotional distress.

He also received $60,000 in back pay, $570,249 in lost pension, $48,000 in future wages, and $250,000 in punitive damages.

Lt. Downing served the RPD for a total of 26 years.

“If this verdict does not show that racism will no longer be accepted in our educated and enlightened society, I do not believe anything ever will,” the lieutenant’s attorney, Patrick Toscano told the NJ Advance. “Simply put, achievement has no color.”

The Borough of Roselle “vehemently” challenged the jury’s decision, and said the Lt. Downing’s claims were “without merit,” according to a press release.

“A detailed investigation conducted by an independent counsel confirmed that there was no evidence to substantiate the allegations made by the plaintiff,” the statement read. “The Borough supports and fosters and environment of equal opportunity for all of its employees, and, therefore, must explore all legal avenues to overturn the unfortunate and misguided decision in this matter.”

Chief Roselle retired from the RPD in January, according to

Comments (17)
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I don't care what color this policeman was. He could have been purple.
But this was a guy , a good cop, who did all the right things, did great on the test and should have received his promotion.
And the SAME day, they all of a sudden have all this crap on him?
Sorry, but white, black or purple, this was wrong.
I am glad he sued and won. This happened in 2013, here it is 2018.
He might have lost his house, and anything else he had, that he worked for, for 26 years.
He deserved everything he got, money wise. But to be forced out of a job, as he was, is disgusting.
I wish him well, and I do hope that maybe he could get another job in law enforcement. We need good cops, and according to what is written about him, he was a good cop.
Too bad, in this day and age that good people have to put up with this crap.


It is amazing how warped some people are. First, he was not forced out of his job. He chose to retire after 26 years of service, which where I live, earns you to a full pension. Second, he was a Lt. If the department was as racist as you seem to believe, he would have never made it to Lt. He would have spent his whole career as a patrol officer. Lastly, scoring highest on the written test, does not insure you to be promoted. As most police will tell you, the most important test towards promotion is the oral board. Maybe he fucked up that part. You are not being told the whole story.


The fact remains that he violated policy and they chose to enforce the rules, it's not the city's choice as to when he violated policy he did that on his own , nothing in the story disputes he did violate policy, so one has to assume that the jury felt it was unfair he was not promoted. The fact is promotions are not based on popularity or fairness they are based on the needs of the department and the management skill level of the applicant. no of which was considered in the legal action. Nothing in the story states he was forced to retire based on the actions of the department, it appears that was a choice he made. As to all those thinking he got over on the department with this ruling remember that its the taxpayers who pay this bill


BillD Are you kidding? A police officer with 26 yrs on the job, no disciplinary action, passes Capt's test with highest marks, is disciplined on the day marks are announced, and you don't think it's racism? It would be interesting to know just who did get the captain's position. And if he or she is white, then it's blatant racism. I'm the daughter of a cop, white, and I can tell you that my dad would be saying racism. My dad was the least racist person I knew.


Vocal Pelican A Negro? What are you back in the 1960s? I grew up with the words colored and Negro. When I became an adult, my words changed with the times. If someone was calling you Whitey, I would bet you'd be pissed. And while you're judging me for being a self-loathing caucasian...I'm a conservative with extremely conservative roots who is exceptionally not politically correct.