Get Task & Purpose in your inbox
These NJ police officers were harassed by their bosses over their military service. They sued the department and won
Bloomfield, New Jersey police officers won $1 million in damages after a jury found they were discriminated against by department officials for nearly a decade because they served in the military.
The July 3 decision in Superior Court in Essex County determined Bloomfield officers Hector Cartagena and Michael McCracken suffered harassing and wrongful conduct.
The lawsuit was filed in 2014 with two other officers, Anthony Argento and Michael Frazzano, who has since retired. The suit accused the township and police department of maintaining a hostile work environment, retaliation and discrimination.
While Argento and Frazzano were not awarded any damages, Cartagena and McCracken will each receive $400,000 in punitive damages. Cartagena will also receive $125,000 and McCracken will get $75,000 for emotional damages, according to court filings.
The township filed appeals Tuesday.
Kevin Barber, a Morristown-based attorney who represented the officers, did not immediately respond to request for comment. Bloomfield Township attorney David Pack also did not respond.
According to the lawsuit, Cartagena and McCracken were deployed overseas nine times and were accused of lying about leave time.
The lawsuit claims the four cops were passed over for promotions, targeted in internal affairs investigations and treated with disrespect.
"The department deliberately sought to punish (the officers) for their military service, but also made it clear to other officers that such military service was not compatible or accepted," the suit said.
McCracken and Cartagena claim in the suit they were subjected to an improper internal affairs investigation concerning the use of the military time, and the department requested the Essex County Prosecutor's Office conduct a criminal investigation.
Former township Police Chief Christopher Goul and former Lt. Richard Chiarello, who conducted the investigation, were named in the suit, along with several other township officials.
They also allege the department has had a history of terminating several officers who were veterans or forcing retirement, harassing former military members through investigations and passed them over for assignments and overtime.
©2019 NJ Advance Media Group, Edison, N.J.. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
Retired Army Master Sgt. Mark Allen has died 10 years after he was shot in the head while searching for deserter Pvt. Bowe Bergdahl in Afghanistan.
Allen died on Saturday at the age of 46, according to funeral information posted online.
For U.S. service members who have fought alongside the Kurds, President Donald Trump's decision to approve repositioning U.S. forces in Syria ahead of Turkey's invasion is a naked betrayal of valued allies.
"I am ashamed for the first time in my career," one unnamed special operator told Fox News Jennifer Griffin.
In a Twitter thread that went viral, Griffin wrote the soldier told her the Kurds were continuing to support the United States by guarding tens of thousands of ISIS prisoners even though Turkey had nullified an arrangement under which U.S. and Turkish troops were conducting joint patrols in northeastern Syria to allow the Kurdish People's Protection Units, or YPG, to withdraw.
"The Kurds are sticking by us," the soldier told Griffin. "No other partner I have ever dealt with would stand by us."
Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Sunday he and the Pentagon will comply with House Democrats' impeachment inquiry subpoena, but it'll be on their own schedule.
"We will do everything we can to cooperate with the Congress," Esper said on CBS' "Face the Nation." "Just in the last week or two, my general counsel sent out a note — as we typically do in these situations — to ensure documents are retained."
Most of the U.S. troops in Syria are being moved out of the country as Turkish forces and their Arab allies push further into Kurdish territory than originally expected, Task & Purpose has learned.
Roughly 1,000 U.S. troops are withdrawing from Syria, leaving a residual force of between 100 and 150 service members at the Al Tanf garrison, a U.S. official said.
"I spoke with the president last night after discussions with the rest of the national security team and he directed that we begin a deliberate withdrawal of forces from northern Syria," Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on Sunday's edition of CBS News' "Face the Nation."'
More than 700 women and children affiliated with ISIS escape Kurdish prison camp after Turkish shelling
BEIRUT/ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Women affiliated with Islamic State and their children fled en masse from a camp where they were being held in northern Syria on Sunday after shelling by Turkish forces in a five-day-old offensive, the region's Kurdish-led administration said.
Turkey's cross-border attack in northern Syria against Kurdish forces widened to target the town of Suluk which was hit by Ankara's Syrian rebel allies. There were conflicting accounts on the outcome of the fighting.
Turkey is facing threats of possible sanctions from the United States unless it calls off the incursion. Two of its NATO allies, Germany and France, have said they are halting weapons exports to Turkey. The Arab League has denounced the operation.