Former New Jersey police officer sues over Islamophobic slurs and wrongful dismissal

19th Jun 2020
Former New Jersey police officer sues over Islamophobic slurs and wrongful dismissal

(Photo credit: APPD/Flickr Commons)

Nadine Osman

A Muslim police officer is suing Asbury Park Police Department (APPD) in New Jersey which he served for over 15-year, over Islamophobic slurs, being passed over for promotions in favour of his white colleagues, as well as for wrongful dismissal.

Kamil Warraich, the APPD’s first Pakistani-American and second Muslim officer, was repeatedly called “Taliban” and “terrorist” by colleagues, according to a lawsuit filed on May 21 in state Superior Court in Monmouth.

The complaint also alleged that Warraich, who was hired by the APPD in 2004, was passed over for a promotion in favour of white colleagues in 2012 — even though his record showed that he “was far more qualified for the position than the two officers selected and had more experience.”

His attempts to raise concerns drew him into a bureaucratic nightmare that ultimately led to his demotion and firing.

“Mr Warraich was a trailblazer who wanted nothing more than to serve the people of Asbury Park,” said David Castellani, Warraich’s lawyer. “Unfortunately… Mr Warraich faced a hostile work environment created by people within the APPD, who did not want to see a dark-skinned police officer.”

Warraich was fired last summer, which he believes was part of a retaliation campaign against him because he had flagged problems within the department.

Police officials said he racked up multiple disciplinary charges and failed a fitness for duty test, which he disputes, according to the complaint.
The suit also accuses city officials and the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office of mishandling his complaints.

During his tenure, he held prestigious positions and was accused of “insubordination,” according to the lawsuit, and officials repeatedly ignored rules and regulations whenever he said he was being treated poorly.

After he and other minority officers were kept out of union activities, he and almost a dozen predominantly black officers formed a new union last year, according to the suit and an announcement from the state’s Fraternal Order of Police. The one white cop who joined them was called a “race traitor” by other officers, according to the complaint.

The lawsuit asks for lost wages and his reinstatement as a lieutenant, among other requests.

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