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 TAPinto.net.

Comments (17)
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Luv2Read
Luv2Read

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.

lds719
lds719

There is a new chief in the Borough of Roselle. His name is Brian Barnes. He started his career as a patrol officer. Then climbed through the ranks of Sgt, Lt, and Capt before being appointed Chief. And guess what? He is black. And he became chief before this stupid lawsuit was announced. And just to be clear, he was black during his entire career at RPD.

SeniorCitizen
SeniorCitizen

I have one question for VocalPelican and BillD. Are you guys cops? Do you walk around with guns on your hips and police people? If so, you are obviously VERY racist and shouldn't be allowed near a gun which you can use on BLacks.

lds719
lds719

Fact check. Police kill more whites then they do blacks. And why do you assume that if the people you mentioned are cops, that they are also white, and guys? I know many "racist" cops, both black and white, male and female.

LAWDAWG2007
LAWDAWG2007

That's great I'm glad for him getting what he felt like he was owed. Question is can white officers do the same thing in the same case, same circumstances just a white officers who has the exact same thing happen to them. Or what about when you are a white male, better qualified and prefect record and you loose a job to another race or sex, because of affirmative action? Can they still sue for these issues? Of course we know the answer already, most of us have already had it happen to us more than once in the First Responders field...Heck in every line of work every where. I've seen it first hand over and over again as I do backgrounds and I've seen white males apps get tossed aside by the upper management for next to nothing to hire a female or another race male with boarder line questionable backgrounds that barely meet qualifications to be in LE.

nomorecommonsense
nomorecommonsense

Very true. It's almost absurd that his main suit was for emotional distress when he could have continued to work and possibly apply for a future opening instead of choosing to retire. Nothing about what the department did implies any sort of discrimination if he failed to follow the proper procedures. It just shows how willing people are to blame their own short-comings on "discrimination" nowadays, and how willing everyone else is to jump on the bandwagon without any thought or reason. And I'm sure that over half a million dollar pension that would have probably taken him a decade or more to receive, which he got in just four years in a lump sum, was a very good incentive to cry racism.

Hi_estComnDenomn
Hi_estComnDenomn

@nomorecommonsense
This is textbook sand bagging, if not downright racism.

Even if you take race out of the equation, he sounds like he was a great cop and on the day of the evaluation results, he got written up for seemingly minor and easily corrected infractions.

He wasn't crying anything. He was cheated and got his due. It'd have been cheaper to just promote him, as it seemed he was the best candidate anyway.

nomorecommonsense
nomorecommonsense

"Textbook sand bagging" huh? He had been promoted to lieutenant already so where is the racism? You would think given his position he would be well aware of the rules so why did he not follow them? Those regulations apply to everyone so even if by some coincidence they happened to finish their invesitgations at the time what is the problem with them enforcing them? He could have continued his dedicated service and, like I said, possibly applied for another open position when it opened. Instead he claimed discrimination and "emotional distress". An odd claim for an over 20 year veteran of a police department. He's probably seen terrible things in his time but he gets denied a promotion and he's crying, yes crying, racism. Emotional distress kind of implies that, even though I never said that in my original post. And like the person that I replied to in the first place said, the money that he was awarded comes from the taxpayers. I wish I could claim discrimination because I didn't get something I felt I deserved and walk away with over a million dollars.

Hi_estComnDenomn
Hi_estComnDenomn

@nomorecommonsense
He didn't need to feel like he deserved it. He deserved it. Good cop, highest test scores, other shit that mattered. Mistakenly not signing a form and being late to work a few minutes one time doesn't mean he shouldn't have been promoted. He is still their best candidate.

nomorecommonsense
nomorecommonsense

If that's policy then that's policy, no other way to put it. And I'm not even going to go into all the people that had the highest scores but didn't get where they should, affirmative action is going down a different tanget. I'd rather not have a captian of a police department who can't even follow the most simple regulations. If you can't remember to be on time or endorse a form I don't want you in charge of dozens of officers, plain and simple. I guess he thought he had worked 26 years so it doesn't matter if he does NOT comply with simple regulations, and then complain when he gets caught. And I wonder if the officer that took the promotion had been written up for anything, or does that matter to you?