Wednesday, September 27, 2023
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Alcoholic Cop Decries NYPD Discrimination

BROOKLYN (CN) - New York City faces a federal employment-discrimination complaint from a police officer who says his co-workers lampooned his struggles with alcoholism.

Courthouse News has omitted the name of the officer who filed the Oct. 19 complaint, in light of the sensitive nature of the claims.

The officer says he has been an officer of the NYPD since 1999, mostly working out of Transit District 34 in Brooklyn.

Describing himself as "a recovering alcoholic," the officer notes that he has suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder ever since his work assignments after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Hurricane Sandy "exacerbated" that PTSD, the officer claims.

He says the hurricane caused a prisoner-transport van in which he was working to become filled with water.

Though the officer was rescued by a police boat, he says the "boat was forced to leave a man behind."

"That person was never found, and is presumed to have drowned," the complaint states.

The officer says he has been the subject of ridicule at work ever since he participated in a confidential program two years ago meant for officers struggling with substance abuse.

Having returned to work in December 2013, the officer says people have been repeatedly plastering his locker with "alcohol advertisements, and other depictions or writings with alcohol references."

"In March 2014, during a daily meeting in the 'muster room,' when NYPD officers and supervisors were present, [the plaintiff] saw pictures openly posted on the supervisor's podium that depicted a cartoon man connected to two IVs, one filled with scotch, the other soda," the complaint states. "All outgoing officers and their respective supervisors (i.e., not just [the plaintiff's shift) use the muster room as they report for duty. It may be inferred that NYPD supervisors were aware of the postings."

The plaintiff says his name was scribbled above the man in the alcohol advertisements.

"These pictures were posted in plain view, and in high traffic locations, such as bulletin boards, the radio room, and the muster room, often accessed by supervisors," the complaint states.

Every time the plaintiff throws such depictions away, someone posts a new one.

The plaintiff seeks punitive damages for discrimination and retaliation.

He is represented by Rick Ostrove with Leeds Brown in Carle Place, N.Y.

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