White dispatcher — I was called ‘monkey,’ ‘N-Word’ by Wall cops
WALL — A suspended dispatcher facing charges for official misconduct and computer theft is suing Wall Township and the Wall Township Police Department — saying even though he's white, his dark skin made him a constant target for racist ridicule and jokes.
The lawsuit filed by Nicholas Curcio says he has an "olive complexion" due to his Italian ancestry, and also has skin discoloration from Diabetes. Colleagues at the department would call him names including "half-black," "black legs" and even the "N-word," the lawsuit claims.
Curcio also says in the lawsuit that on a daily basis he was referred to as "monkey" or otherwise ridiculed after he had heart surgery. In a get-well card one person said "guess your (sic) gonna need a new monkey heart. They should probably replace it with a monkey brain while they're at it." Another suggested doctors could give him a "monkey dong," he said in the lawsuit.
Curcio also says employees would also post racist drawings and other images at the Wall Township Police Department headquarters. One of the images, which is included in the lawsuit, shows police officers wearing the the symbol of the Ku Klux Klan on their uniforms waving at a just-married couple, the suit states. Two dark-skinned men are also seen being dragged from the back of the vehicle, which has a "KKK-1" license plate.
Curcio's lawsuit says that in another instance an official-looking memo was put together requesting he appear at a hearing inquiring about his whereabouts in relation to an incident in which "30 baboons killed a man out of revenge" in Uganda, as well as a picture of a young black man captioned "Nick Curcio's High School Senior Picture."
The suit says employees of the department would draw sexually explicit images on his white board including "multiple drawings of ejaculating penises." Curcio's lawsuit claims he complained to former Chief Robert Brice about the drawings in 2016, and that after that Brice would call him "Rat Boy" or "Rat."
The lawsuit says the chief retaliated against Curcio after the complaint "including by lying about him and targeting him for unfair and unwarranted criticism and discipline."
Curcio says he suffered "severe emotional distress," which also impacted his physical health. He is seeking unspecified damages and fees.
Wall Township Administrator Jeff Bertrand told New Jersey 101.5 that the township takes "any and all allegations seriously," and that officials are reviewing the accusations made in the lawsuit.
The Asbury Park Press reported Curcio was placed on unpaid leave in August 2016 after he was indicted on seven charges. Among the charges are that he accessed the Criminal Justice Information System without authorization between Feb. 8, 2016 and March 9, 2016. He is also charged with gaining unauthorized access to Facebook through the Wall Township Police Department computer network.
In addition to the computer charges, Curcio is also charged with wrongful impersonation and stalking.
The paper reported Curcio has pleaded not guilty, and his trial is scheduled to start next month. A phone call to his attorney in the lawsuit, Ravi Sattiraju, has not yet been returned.
Suresh Madhavan, a former police officer for the township, is also suing the department and the township claiming he faced discrimination as well, the Press reported. Madhavan was fired in 2016 after he was accused of lying during an internal affairs investigation, according to the paper. His lawsuit claims he was passed over for promotions in favor of white colleagues, and that he was the victim of racial insults as well.
That lawsuit also alleges Madhavan was forced to make a video recording of a married sergeant having sex with a mistress at Madhavan's home, according to the Press.