Harassment and LGBT discrimination
Settled November 2008
Plaintiff Christine Locke, an Newark Police Department (NPD) officer, was injured while on duty in a car accident. After she returned to duty, an NPD captain, Richard Cuccolo, engaged in a campaign of repeated harassment, including suggestions that she was malingering and ultimately calling her a "f–king dyke" in a November 2004 incident. Other retaliation, including the filing of frivolous disciplinary charges against her then ensued through at least 2006. Locke filed suit in March 2008 (No. ESX-L-2759-06), and in or about November 2008, she settled her lawsuit for $135,000.00. Cuccolo, as of January 2010, remained in command of the Newark Police Academy.
Note: None of Locke's allegations have been proven or disproven in court. The settlement agreement likely states that the $135,000 payment does not constitute an admission of liability by Newark or any of its officials. All that is known for sure is that Newark, for whatever reason, decided that it would rather pay Locke $135,000 than take the matter to trial. Perhaps the defendants' decision to settle was done to save further legal expense and the costs of trying what were in fact exaggerated or meritless claims. Or, perhaps the claims were true and the defendants wanted to avoid being embarrassed at trial. This is the problem when cases settle before trial — it is impossible to know the truth of what really happened — or what consequences, if any, came to the individuals accused in the suit.