The City of Linwood, N.J. agreed to pay its police chief and another officer a total of $400,000 to resolve their whistleblower retaliation lawsuit, alleging mismanagement and corruption within the department made for a “hostile and retaliatory work environment.”
The lawsuit, filed in 2011 in Cumberland County Superior Court by then-captain Douglas Carman and then-detective-sergeant John Hamilton, cites a long litany of grievances to demonstrate years of alleged misconduct in the upper ranks of the Linwood Police Department. Mr. Carman has since become the department’s Chief of Police and Mr. Hamilton is now a captain.
According to the lawsuit, former police Chief Jim Baker, who under a previous agreement was prohibit from participating in discussions about wages and benefits, lashed back at Carman and Hamilton when they refused to be pressured into bargaining in a manner that would favor him but hurt other officers.
Carman claimed that Baker tried to “vilify and damage” him when he refused to disclose details about his talks with the union.
In another instance, Carman and Hamilton alleged Baker asked officers to lie about the police protection given to a woman who was later stabbed to death.
Retaliation by Baker took several forms, the plaintiffs claimed.
Hamilton alleged Baker disparaged him and Carman in recorded telephone conversation he had with other city officials. The plaintiffs also claimed that Baker denied them opportunities to work overtime even when they were contractually entitled to receive it.
Carman alleged that Baker passed him over for the Chief position and selected a less qualified candidate when he retired. Carman became Chief in March 2015 when Baker’s successor retired, and Hamilton became captain.