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Everett Suit against Union City
 

Everett Suit against Union City

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    Everett Suit against Union City Everett Suit against Union City Document Transcript

    • Case 2:06-cv-04969-DMC-MF Document 1-1 Filed 10/17/2006 Page 1 of 8 Case 2:33-av-00001 Document 496-1 Filed 10/17/2006 Page 1 of 8 LOUIS A. ZAYAS, ESQ. LAW OFFICES OF LOUIS A. ZAYAS 11 State Street Hackensack N.J. 07601 Counsel for the Plaintiff (201) 489-3900 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY CHARLES EVERETT, Plaintiff, vs. BRIAN STACK, CITY OF UNION CITY Defendants. ) ) Case No.: ) ) ) COMPLAINT ) ) ) ) ) The Plaintiff , UNION CITY CHIEF OF POLICE CHARLES EVERETT by and through his attorney, LOUIS A. ZAYAS, ESQ. alleges as following: INTRODUCTION 1. This is a civil action to redress the deprivation under color of statute, custom, or usage of rights, privileges, and immunities secured to Plaintiff by the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution of the United States, 42 U.S.C. 1983. PARTIES 2. Plaintiff UNION CITY CHIEF OF POLICE CHARLES EVERETT (“CHIEF EVERETT”), is the current Chief of Police for the Union City Police Department. 3. Defendant MAYOR BRIAN STACK (“MAYOR STACK”), is the Mayor and Director of Public Safety for the Union City Police Department. MAYOR STACK is sued in his official and individual capacity for purposes of effecting full the declaratory, injunctive, 1
    • Case 2:06-cv-04969-DMC-MF Document 1-1 Filed 10/17/2006 Page 2 of 8 Case 2:33-av-00001 Document 496-1 Filed 10/17/2006 Page 2 of 8 compensatory and punitive damages demanded by the Plaintiff. 4. Defendant CITY OF UNION CITY is a municipality organized by virtue of New Jersey law and pursuant to that law, is to be known and distinguished by the name “UNION CITY.” Defendant UNION CITY is sued to effect the full declaratory, injunctive, compensatory damages demanded by the Plaintiff. JURISDICTION & VENUE 5. The jurisdiction of this Court is invoked by the Plaintiff pursuant to Title 28 U.S.C. § 1343(3) which confer jurisdiction upon this Court. Venue is appropriate since the cause of action arose in the County of Hudson. FACTS 6. In accordance with N.J.S.A. 40:70-1 et seq., Union City is organized as a non-partisan commission form of government. Under this political form of government, Union City is comprised of five commissioners elected at large by the citizens of Union City. The commissioners then select one commissioner to serve as Mayor. Under this form of governance, the Mayor also serves in the capacity as the Director of Public Safety. 7. As the Director of Public Safety, the MAYOR STACK is responsible for setting and implementing policy for the Union City Police Department. 8. The Chief of Police, as provided by N.J.S.A. 40A:14-118, is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the police department. The purpose of the statute is to avoid undue political interference by the governing political body. 9. In 1976, CHIEF EVERETT joined the Union City Police Department. 2
    • Case 2:06-cv-04969-DMC-MF Document 1-1 Filed 10/17/2006 Page 3 of 8 Case 2:33-av-00001 Document 496-1 Filed 10/17/2006 Page 3 of 8 Since joining the police department, CHIEF EVERETT has a received numerous promotions, commendations, and excellent work performance evaluations by his superiors. Prior to complaining to MAYOR STACK, CHIEF EVERETT has never been the subject of any major disciplinary complaint by the mayor, and has only twice been disciplined for minor infractions relating to his duties and responsibilities as a police officer over the course of a thirty year career. 10. In 2003, MAYOR STACK promoted CHIEF EVERETT the first African American to head the Union City Police Department. 11. In April 2006, after failing to persuade MAYOR STACK informally, CHIEF EVERETT officially complained to MAYOR STACK regarding his improper interference with the day-to-day operations of the police department in order to advance his political agenda and punish political opponents. CHIEF EVERETT was compelled to complain directly to MAYOR STACK because his conduct was having an adverse affect upon the morale and effectiveness of the police department to carry out its stated mission to serve and protect the people of Union City. CHIEF EVERETT’s official complaint to MAYOR STACK relates to a matter of utmost concern to the public safety. 12. For example, MAYOR STACK improperly disregarded the police department’s chain of command by directing police officers to punish political opponents, by issuing parking tickets against those unfavored by the MAYOR STACK, causing the filing of questionable administrative complaints against tavern owners critical of him, and punishing police officers in terms of assignments and promotions based on their perceived political opposition to his administration. 13. On at least one occasion, MAYOR STACK hindered a potential criminal investigation involving a Union City tavern by failing to immediately report the criminal activity 3
    • Case 2:06-cv-04969-DMC-MF Document 1-1 Filed 10/17/2006 Page 4 of 8 Case 2:33-av-00001 Document 496-1 Filed 10/17/2006 Page 4 of 8 to CHIEF EVERETT as required by law. 14. In response to CHIEF EVERETT’s aforementioned complaint, MAYOR STACK demanded his retirement. When CHIEF EVERETT refused to resigned, MAYOR STACK retaliated against CHIEF EVERETT in an effort to chill any further complaints and force CHIEF EVERETT’s resignation and thereby replace him with a more subservient chief of police that would enable MAYOR STACK to freely pursue his political agenda and vendettas through the police department. 15. Despite having received consistent promotions and excellent work performance evaluations throughout his career as a Union City Police Officer, CHIEF EVERETT was suddenly charged with a number baseless administrative complaints initiated by MAYOR STACK primarily because of his exercise of free speech. The apparent purpose of filing of the aforementioned administrative charges against a highly decorated police officer is chill any further speech and intimidate CHIEF EVERETT into retiring or face termination after an administrative hearing conducted by a pro- MAYOR STACK hearing officer. 16. MAYOR STACK, through his political allies and agents, has disparaged CHIEF EVERETT’s reputation in the community during a number of public town meetings and public speeches. For example, in May or June 2006, MAYOR STACK using public funds distributed fliers throughout Union City distorting CHIEF EVERETT’s performance as chief of police in order to undermine CHIEF EVERETT’s authority to effectively command his police department and thereby provide MAYOR STACK with a pretextual basis to terminate his employment or demote him as chief of police. 17. In furtherance of his objective to retaliate against CHIEF EVERETT for complaining, MAYOR STACK ordered CHIEF EVERETT to undergo psychiatric examination 4
    • Case 2:06-cv-04969-DMC-MF Document 1-1 Filed 10/17/2006 Page 5 of 8 Case 2:33-av-00001 Document 496-1 Filed 10/17/2006 Page 5 of 8 despite the complete absence of any reasonable basis to infer that CHIEF EVERETT was psychologically unfit for duty or was suffering from any emotional instability. The true reason for MAYOR STACK’s decision to order a psychiatric examination was to discredit CHIEF EVERETT as an opponent to his ultimate goal to usurp the duties of chief of police as his own and advance his own political agenda through the police department. FIRST CLAIM FOR RELIEF 42 U.S.C. Section 1983 MAYOR STACK 18. All of the allegations in each of the foregoing paragraphs are incorporated by reference as if fully set forth herein. 19. Defendant MAYOR STACK’s retaliatory conduct, acting under the color of law, subjected CHIEF EVERETT to the deprivation of his First and Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution after CHIEF EVERETT complained about a matter of public concern and public safety. 20. MAYOR STACK’s conduct was intended to and did act to chill CHIEF EVERETT’s exercise of his rights as guaranteed by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. 21. As a direct and proximate cause of the aforementioned, Plaintiff CHIEF EVERETT was deprived of his constitutional rights secured by the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution. As a result of the foregoing, Plaintiff CHIEF EVERETT has suffered, and continues to suffer, damages in an amount to be determined by a jury. Because of Defendant MAYOR STACK’s willful and malicious 5
    • Case 2:06-cv-04969-DMC-MF Document 1-1 Filed 10/17/2006 Page 6 of 8 Case 2:33-av-00001 Document 496-1 Filed 10/17/2006 Page 6 of 8 conduct, Plaintiff CHIEF EVERETT seeks punitive damages in MAYOR STACK’s individual capacity in an amount to be determined by a jury II. SECOND CLAIM FOR RELIEF MUNICIPAL LIABILITY PURSUANT TO 42 U.S.C. Section1983 CITY OF UNION CITY 22. All of the allegations in each of the foregoing paragraphs are incorporated by reference as if fully set forth herein. 23. At all times relevant to this complaint, MAYOR STACK’s was, and still is, the final decision-maker for the Union City Police Department. MAYOR STACK’s decisions, policies, and orders are official policies attributable to UNION CITY. 24. Acting under the color of law, by and through his own authority as policy-maker for UNION CITY and its police department and pursuant to official policy, or with deliberate indifference to the rights of Plaintiff CHIEF EVERETT, did subject Plaintiff CHIEF EVERETT to the deprivation of his right to exercise speech guaranteed under the First and Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. 25. As a direct and proximate cause of the aforementioned, Plaintiff CHIEF EVERETT was deprived of his constitutional rights secured under First and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution. 6
    • Case 2:06-cv-04969-DMC-MF Document 1-1 Filed 10/17/2006 Page 7 of 8 Case 2:33-av-00001 Document 496-1 Filed 10/17/2006 Page 7 of 8 PRAYER FOR RELIEF WHEREFORE, the Plaintiff respectfully demands judgment be entered in their favor and against the Defendant as follows: 1. A preliminary and permanent injunction enjoining the Defendants from interfering with the office of CHIEF OF POLICE; 2. Permanently enjoining the prosecution of the subject disciplinary action 3. Permanently enjoining the Defendants from prospectively interfering (either by chilling or means of violation) with Plaintiff’s exercise of his rights as guaranteed by the First Amendment. 4. That Plaintiff recovers from MAYOR STACK individually compensatory damages, exemplary and punitive damages, attorney’s fees, and such other monetary relief as requested herein or may be deemed appropriate in an amount to be determined by a jury. 5. That Plaintiff recovers from the Defendant UNION CITY compensatory damages, exemplary, attorney’s fees, and such other monetary relief as requested herein or may be deemed appropriate in an amount to be determined by a jury. 6. And that the Court grant such other and further relief as it deems just and proper. By: /s/ LOUIS A. ZAYAS __________________________ LOUIS A. ZAYAS, Esq. (LZ-1881) 11 State Street Hackensack, N.J. 07601 (201) 489-3900 7
    • Case 2:06-cv-04969-DMC-MF Document 1-1 Filed 10/17/2006 Page 8 of 8 Case 2:33-av-00001 Document 496-1 Filed 10/17/2006 Page 8 of 8 8