A former Glen Cove police officer was allegedly harassed by his superiors for publicly supporting a Republican politician, according to a federal lawsuit.
The former officer, Scott Genova, is seeking more than $100,000 in damages from the city, police department, Police Chief William Whitton and four other individuals.
Genova claims, in the suit filed last month in federal court in Central Islip, that he was retaliated against "in order to chill his rights of political association and his right to lawfully engage in political activities outside of work."
The complaint described how Genova's superiors and fellow officers allegedly targeted him for hostile treatment in 2011 after he backed Republican Robert Germino Jr. for the Nassau County Legislature with a $300 contribution and lawn sign. Germino lost against Democrat Delia DeRiggi-Whitton, ex-wife of chief Whitton.
The suit alleges that the harassment stemmed, in part, from a view that Germino was anti-union.
According to the complaint, police personnel ridiculed Genova for his politics, posted signs in the workplace that implied he had a sexual relationship with Germino and drew obscene graffiti on his desk officer book. Genova, who served as a Glen Cove police officer from 2005 until he resigned in 2012, was absent for an extended period for cancer treatment, and though he returned to duty, the case alleges that he suffered health problems from the stress of being harassed.
After resigning, Genova filed a complaint with the New York State Division of Human Rights in March and received a $27,411 payout check from the City of Glen Cove, according to the lawsuit.
Calls to Whitton and a police department spokesman were not returned Wednesday. The Glen Cove City Council on Tuesday approved a contract with the Binghamton law firm Coughlin & Gerhart LLP.
Glen Cove Mayor Ralph Suozzi declined to comment on the case. Asked if city employees faced harassment or intimidation for their political views, Suozzi said "absolutely not."
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