Day 9: Robinson v. City of Newark

Discrimination and Retaliation
Settled March 2009

banner_police_prac_200: Newark Police Practices

An Newark Police Department (NPD) detective, Janell Robinson, sued the NPD for discrimination and retaliation (No. ESX-L-5145-06) in June 2006. Her complaint describes an escalating series of harassment upon her, beginning in 2001 when then-Lieutenant (and later police chief) Irving Bradley began sexually harassing another NPD officer. The other officer complained of Bradley's conduct, with Robinson aiding and encouraging her efforts to stop the harassment. In retaliation, Bradley changed Robinson's shift to a late-night shift, then assigned her a walking post without a vehicle, and filed false disciplinary charges against her. During the summer of 2004, Bradley began stalking her at a franchise business that Robinson owned. Later that year, another detective, Sgt. Dennis Sanders called the franchisor's headquarters in an unwarranted attempt to insinuate there was something amiss with her business. According to Robinson, "[o]ther officers who operated outside businesses were not investigated in this manner." She was also assigned dangerous and unfavorable patrol duties and subjected to other forms of harassment. In March 2009, the case settled with her receiving a payment of $350,000.00.

Note: None of Robinson's allegations have been proven or disproven in court. The settlement agreement likely states that the $350,000 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 Robinson $350,000 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.

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