Evidence of Reverse Discrimination Was So ‘Overwhelming’ That a Jury Awarded the Victim More Than $1 Million
Oliver Darcy, The Blaze, May 29, 2014
A New York police officer was awarded $1.35 million dollars this week after he successfully sued the village of Freeport, alleging he was passed over for a promotion because of his race.
A Long Island jury sided with Lt. Christopher Barrella after he claimed that then-Mayor Andrew Hardwick overlooked him to become chief of police so that he could name a Hispanic candidate to the position instead.
His legal team, comprised of Amanda M. Fugazy and Adam C. Weiss, said that “racial discrimination against white employees is just as unlawful as discrimination black, Hispanic or Asian employees.”
Barella’s legal team presented evidence showing that Hardwick moved to change rules to allow Miguel Bermudez, at the time an Hispanic lieutenant, to apply for the chief position. Bermudez at the time did not have enough time in grade as a lieutenant to apply for the position.
Fugazy and Weiss argued that their client had a superior resume, noting that he scored first on the chief’s civil service exam, while Bermudez placed third, and had spent more years as a lieutenant, held a law degree and a master’s degree in public administration, and had undergone special training at the FBI academy. By comparison, Bermudez only held a high school diploma.
A Freeport representative did not respond to a request for comment from The Blaze Thursday, but the release issued by Barrella’s legal team said they had tried to argue no racial discrimination had occurred because Bermudez is a “white Hispanic.”
“This argument was undercut by the fact that Hardwick, according to several witnesses, referred to Bermudez as Freeport’s ‘first Hispanic police chief’ on numerous occasions and also made other racially based statements,” the release said.