NYPD Sergeant Files Lawsuit for Racial Discrimination
|thenorthstar||Aug 6, 2019|
A New York City Police Department (NYPD) sergeant claims in a new lawsuit against the city that he was the target of racial slurs, workplace abuse, and insults due to his Egyptian heritage.
In an amended July 24 suit filed in Brooklyn Federal Court, Kappa Farid claims that he was “regularly” mocked due to his Arabic accent. Sergeant. John Tuscano allegedly told Farid that he was “speaking gibberish” and that he had “to learn how to speak English.”
The suit says that Deputy Inspector Kenneth Noonan would order Farid to sit mutely during team meetings at the 123rd Precinct. “The complaint alleges Farid was scared, believed he was in imminent danger of physical and violent attack, and faced workplace hostility on a regular basis,” Farid’s attorney Marshall Bellovin told the New York Daily News.
One of Farid’s colleagues, identified as Officer Gorman, allegedly referred to the 18-year veteran as a “sand monkey” and told him to “go back to where you belong,” the lawsuit claims.
The 54-year-old NYPD veteran also alleges that one of his superiors was responsible for the breakdown of his marriage. He was reportedly moved to an unwanted midnight shift, which ultimately led to his divorce. In one particular instance in October 2018, Farid says that Noonan threatened violence against him. “I will come and f— you up,” Noonan allegedly told Farid during a phone call. The lawsuit says Noonan had previously made another threat of physical violence while standing behind Farid as two officers watched. A month after the October 2, 2018 incident, Noonan was promoted to deputy inspector. His promotion was met with criticism from the Sergeants Benevolent Association (SBA). The group shared a tape recording of one of Noonan’s alleged outbursts to publicize the union’s protest to his promotion, the New York Daily News reported at the time.
In the recording, Noonan allegedly threatens to “kill” anyone who does not acclimate to the new culture at the precinct. “There’s such a rage in his voice,” SBA President Ed Mullins told the New York Daily News, “He yells at people. He threatens people. He complains about the need for more activity. Meanwhile, the department is trying to improve relations with the community. It makes no sense.” “How can you promote this guy?”
According to the New York Daily News, NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill said an investigation into Noonan’s alleged threat over the phone was found to be “unfounded and unsubstantiated.” Noonan was not disciplined and was later promoted to the NYPD’s counterterrorism bureau. Farid had several other encounters with Noonan at the Staten Island precinct, according to the 21-page lawsuit. Noonan allegedly threatened to “f—ing tow” Farid’s car if he parked in the precinct’s parking lot. During one particular encounter, Noonan allegedly made a homophobic remark about a gay officer while also insulting Farid’s background. “Kappa, if this guy was in your country they will take care of him — as (in), killing him,” Noonan allegedly said, according to the lawsuit. Another violent incident in 2016 included Tuscano, who was reportedly hitting a civilian inside the precinct when Farid intervened. “Tuscano reacted by clenching his fist and grinding his teeth directly at plaintiff, which was reasonably construed… as an intention to immediately strike plaintiff,” court documents cited by the Daily News say.
“We’ll review the complaint and respond to these allegations as we proceed in the litigation,” a New York City Law Department spokesman told The North Star in an email. The department handles the bulk of legal cases that involve the city.
In a statement to The North Star, NYPD spokesperson Sergeant Mary Frances O’Donnell said the department had launched “an aggressive investigation” into the allegations. However, due to city policy, the allegations were now under review by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. “The NYPD takes these allegations extremely seriously, and there is no place in the Department for this type of behavior,” the department told The North Star. “The NYPD continues to monitor the situation closely and is prepared to take additional corrective action as needed.”
The lawsuit, which was initially filed in early June, seeks $17 million, according to the New York Post.
About the Author
Nicole Rojas is a breaking news writer for The North Star. She has published in various venues, including Newsweek, GlobalPost, IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly, and the Long Island Post. Nicole graduated from Boston University in 2012 with a degree in print journalism. She is an avid world traveler who recently explored Asia and Australia.