Sgt.Valentin Khazin, a nine-year veteran filed a lawsuit in Brooklyn federal claiming that he’s being subjected to harsh treatment for his refusals to join in the discriminatory practices as directed.
Khazin argues that he was targeted with unjustified payback because he wouldn’t help make life miserable for fellow officer Dana Harge, who is black.
Harge earlier filed a federal anti-discrimination suit alleging racial discrimination in the elite Highway Patrol unit.
The black NYPD highway cop since 2008, claims in his lawsuit that superiors retaliated against him after he espoused to media that “racism is routine” in the elite unit. He claimed he has been ridiculed as a “cancer” and a “boob” by a captain in Highway Unit No. 3.
Harge filed a discrimination complaint first with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, later the NYPD Equal Employment Opportunity office in May 2015, alleging bias in the workplace.
The complaint also alleges that he has been blocked from participating in high profile escorts for dignitaries and parade details, and was denied the prestigious honor of driving paralyzed detective Steven McDonald.
Shortly after his complaint’s of discrimination in the department made headlines last September, several black officers were added to the mostly white highway unit, but “acts of hostility against Harge have increased exponentially,” the suit states.
Officer Dana Harge after nine years in the Highway Patrol has sued the NYPD for racial discrimination
Sgt. Khazin in his own suit claims because he wouldn’t play ball, his life is being made miserable.
The 32-year-old police sergeant has been transferred from Highway Patrol and claims he’s under constant scrutiny. He says he’s seen his overtime slashed, then become swamped with extra work, especially during holidays, to keep him away from his family.
“I didn’t do anything wrong,” Khazin said..
Harge was doing his job, said Khazin, who is white. And when the sergeant brought it up that he felt superiors had it out for Harge because of his discrimination complaints, Khazin said he “signed my own death warrant.”
This past Father’s Day, the 32-year-old father of a 1- and 1-year-old, said he was kept on duty almost 24 hours because there allegedly weren’t others to help out.
Eric Sanders, Khazin’s lawyer, said what happened to his client is an example of what happens to people who don’t go along to get along.
Khazin was “one of the few people not afraid to take on the department and sue them. I hear about this stuff all time. It’s just a matter of anyone taking any action,” said Sanders.
Allegations in the suit, filed Thursday, go beyond acts of retaliation connected to Harge.
Khazin says Highway Patrol brass imposed “performance goals or quotas” of 70 summonses per officer for two platoons and 50 summonses per officer in another platoon.
Khazin’s suit also claims he was ordered in January to lower the performance rating of another black officer because she filed a discrimination complaint against a sergeant.
When in 2015 he achieved a career goal of progressing to the elite Highway Patrol in 2015, coming in as a sergeant and ultimately assigned to Highway Patrol Three, Khazin said, NYPD brass told him to keep an eye on Harge, who supposedly was a troublemaker and a “do nothing.”
So Khazin kept his eye on Harge and discovered “all he does is his job. He does it as well as anyone else.”
Khazin said his first sin was authorizing Harge’s request for a day off so Harge could be at his kid’s first Little League game.
“They started really coming down on me,” Khazin said.
The scrutiny and scoldings escalated, according to the suit, ending with Khazin’s transfer out of Highway Patrol to the 9th Precinct on the Lower East Side. The move “was devastating,” Khazin said.
Nevertheless, he hoped to make a fresh start. Khazin said he did his job well, made arrests and even saved a man’s life. Still, he said he couldn’t get out from under the thumb of higher-ups.
“It was just constant nonsense,” said Khazin.