A former Suffolk County police cadet who was fired two days before graduation has filed a federal lawsuit for damages after department officials found that he had improperly received a third chance to pass a situp test to qualify for the job.
Christopher McAdam, 37, of Islip Terrace, said he was defamed and his constitutional rights were “intentionally abridged and violated” and that he was removed as a police officer “without cause, notice or hearing.” He filed suit in U.S. District Court in Central Islip.
“In fact, McAdam was not afforded any procedural due process whatsoever prior to his termination,” said Christopher Cassar, his attorney.
Cassar said the police department’s “improper actions” caused McAdam “a loss of earnings and benefits . . . meaningful employment” in the department as well as “great pain, mental anguish and damage to reputation.”
McAdam is seeking unspecified compensatory damages. Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone’s office and the police department declined to comment because of the litigation.
McAdam lost a lawsuit in state court seeking reinstatement to the job.
Cassar said in an interview that the state suit centered on whether the department’s action was “arbitrary and capricious” in firing McAdam. The federal suit is based on the failure of the county to “give him a hearing and allow him to present evidence” before taking action, Cassar said.
Police officials found that McAdam, whose stepfather, Richard Roth, worked in applicant investigation, received a third chance to pass a test that required him to complete 35 situps. Other candidates who took the physical fitness test got one chance for a retest, under long-standing county policy.
McAdam, who passed the Civil Service test in June 2011, was terminated late last year during training at the county police academy.
He got a temporary court order restoring him to the academy. But State Supreme Court Justice Arthur Pitts last March upheld the firing, saying, “It is undisputed that the petitioner did not complete the necessary requirement of the physical fitness test on two separate occasions.” The firing, Pitts said, “was neither . . . unfair or any abuse of discretion.”
Four other officers were disciplined or transferred because of the incident.
Roth was not implicated in the matter.