Day 7: Hernandez v. City of Newark

Discrimination and Harassment
Settled January 2009
$195,000

banner_police_prac_200: Newark Police Practices

Newark police officers Jacob Hernandez, Anthony Wade and Juan Ramos were targeted for an "Integrity Test" by the Newark Police Department Internal Affairs unit on January 28, 2005. Though the officers had done nothing wrong, the "Integrity Test" degenerated into an abusive, harassing, and discriminatory interrogation of the three officers. Kurt Ebler, the captain in charge began yelling and conducted an illegal search and seizure of one of the officer's bags. Other Internal Affairs officers, Darrin Maresca, Derrick White and Dennis Sanders later arrived, and ordered the officers into an unmarked patrol car as if they were common criminals about to be charged with a crime. Later, White and Maresca transferred the targeted officers to another police station to be interrogated through tormenting and bullying by Sanders, Lieutenant Umar Abdul Hakeem and Sergeant Wiliam Thomas. Throughout this, the targeted officers requested, but were denied, access to a union representative. Subsequently, the officers were subjected to "constant reprisal activities…including false write-ups, Departmental charges and scheduled police trials."

The three officers filed suit in August 2005, and the case was then removed to the district court (No. 05-cv-5153). In or about January 2009, the case was settled at a $195,000 expense to taxpayers.

Note: None of these officers' allegations have been proven or disproven in court. The settlement agreement likely states that the $195,000 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 $195,000 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.

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