A police officer from Millburn, New Jersey was recently awarded $145,000 in a whistleblower lawsuit against the city. Sergeant Robert Ronceray initially filed the complaint in June 2013 against the Millburn Township and the Millburn Police Department under the Conscientious Employee Protection Act.
According to documents from the suit, Ronceray claimed another officer ordered him to not arrest that officer’s girlfriend after an incident at a local car wash. Ronceray reported this to the former chief of police in the township, and the matter was later turned over to internal affairs. After an investigation into the issue, nothing happened. Ronceray also reported several incidents in which he arrested people for various motor vehicle offenses (including drunk driving), but those charges were ultimately dropped because the people charged were friends with law enforcement officials.
After reporting these concerns, Ronceray was subject to retaliation from police officials, who refused to promote him to the rank of police lieutenant, despite the fact that he was deserving of the rank.
The jury deliberated for two days before determining that Ronceray was subject to unfair retaliation after making protected claims. The decision comes just a year after another former police officer from Millburn, Sgt. Kenneth Duym, was awarded $455,000 in another retaliation claim against the city. That decision is currently going through the appeals process. There has not been any decision made so far regarding an appeal for the Ronceray case.
To learn more about how you can protect your rights and file a retaliation whistleblower claim, speak with Steve Kardell at Whistleblower Law for Managers.