A gay policeman in Bergen County, New Jersey, is suing his sheriff for wrongful termination and homophobic harassment. Andrew Kara, a former Marine and SWAT team officer, was let go by his sheriff, Michael Saudino, after a proposed labour deal fell through. Though Kara is alleging he was fired because of his sexual orientation.
Kara says he was constantly mocked and harassed at work, with other officers calling him “homo” and “fag”. He was openly questioned about his HIV status and at one point had a co-worker accuse him of having AIDS while telling the other officers not to touch him. Kara made complaints to his superiors, but they were all ignored.
A crowd of Bergen police officers rallied in support of their fired colleague earlier last week, many holding signs saying: “We stand with Andrew”.
Chris Weston, president of the Bergen County Police Union, told the press: “Because of his sexuality, [Andrew] has had to face an onslaught of despicable and dehumanizing treatment at the hands of his colleagues and their supporters.”
The lawsuit is part of a larger case involving 22 other Bergan County officers who also claim wrongful termination from the sheriff, though Kara is the only one to allege LGBT+ discriminatory harassment.
Brian Downey, president of the Gay Officers Action League said in a statement: “I have one pointed question to the people that did this to Andrew and for the people who turned a blind eye and the people in leadership roles that left him behind: If this is how you are treating one another, how the hell are you treating the public?”
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