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UPDATED: Galloway Police Department Faces Racial Discrimination, Retaliation Lawsuit From Current Officer

Brian Tennant has been a member of the force since 2000.

The Galloway Township Police Department is being sued by an African-American member of the force who is alleging racial discrimination back to 2003.

Officer Brian Tennant, an Egg Harbor Township resident who has been with the force since November of 2000, names Police Chief Pat Moran, Captain Alan Kane, Corporal Gerald Houck and the Township of Galloway as defendants, and also alleges “retaliatory actions.”

In addition to discrimination, Tennant alleges hostile work environment, retaliation, differential treatment, and violation of the Conscientious Employee Act.

According to Tennant, he has been the only African-American police officer on the force since 2003.

In the lawsuit, dated Jan. 31, 2013, Tennant’s attorney, Richard Stoloff, states his client is seeking “economic and emotional distress damages, punitive damages, and any other exemplary, punitive treble damages allowed by statutes” pleaded in the contents of the suit, as well attorney’s fees, cost of suit, and any other relief the court deems fit.

The suit was filed in Superior Court on Feb. 13.

 “As it pertains to my actions and the actions of my administration, this lawsuit is full of half truths, misleading information, and inaccuracies,” Moran said in a statement issued Thursday night, Feb. 21. “Unfortunately, I am prohibited by law to discuss personnel related issues/details but I am prepared to defend against any and all allegations regarding our actions and any accusations levied upon the Township during my administration. I will also be pushing the Township to counter with a frivolous lawsuit action against Tennant and his Attorney and to push for the recovery of attorney’s fees for this entire matter.”

Moran is currently out on sick leave as a result of shoulder surgery, according to the township.

“This litigation is garbage,” Township Manager Arch Liston said in the statement.  “We are presently putting our defense team together and look forward to our day in court.”

The statements were issued by the township with a copy of the lawsuit Thursday evening.

“I have faith in Chief Moran and the police department’s operating procedures,” Deputy Mayor Tony Coppola said via phone interview. “With the professionalism they show every day, it’s hard to believe they would leave the township open to exposure like that.”

"It was extremely disturbing to read the details of the suit being brought against the police department and members of their administration," McElwee said. "While I prefer not to comment until after the complete story can be told by both plantiff and defendants in a court of law, I remain a strong supporter of the Galloway Township Police Deptartment and Chief Moran. It is my hope that people in Galloway will not try this case in the various media outlets with uninformed annonomous comments that degrade both parties in this case. Let the Court decide the outcome and please don't rush to judgement against either party."

Councilman Brian Tyrrell had no comment. Other members of council didn't immediately respond to an email seeking comment Thursday night.

Stoloff had no comment Thursday night.

According to the lawsuit, members of the police force used racially divisive language in Tennant’s presence in 2003, 2010, and twice in 2011, and a racially offensive cartoon was sent to all members of the force, including Tennant, in 2007.

As a result of these incidents, Ryan Cantz, a part-time dispatcher, was suspended for six months and underwent sensitivity training.

However, department-wide sensitivity training has never been implemented. In one instance, Patrolman Mike Goldberg went unpunished and has since been promoted to Corporal, and then Detective, according to the lawsuit.

Tennant states that after he filed his initial tort claim notice in October, 2011, he received a letter from the department stating it was investigating his use of a sexually-offensive term within earshot of other officers. According to Tennant, no specifics were given, and there were no specifics concerning which officers were involved, but the investigation discovered the allegations were “sustained” and the investigation was closed.

Tennant was advised a written reprimand would permanently be placed in his file. When Tennant protested, he claims Moran told him an “enhanced performance notice” would be placed in his file for 18 months, followed by a performance notice on his file for three years. He also said there was no appeals process for a written reprimand.

Tennant was injured while in the line of duty in 2012, and missed several months of work. He was placed on workers’ compensation, but the department then told him he mistakenly received over $4,000 in workers’ compensation. He was then instructed to return all money received during this time. An internal investigation was conducted, and the allegations weren’t sustained, according to Tennant.

Later that year, he was the subject of an investigation that alleged he failed to properly log property checks during a night shift. According to Tennant, the allegations were sustained without a hearing, and he received a reprimand.

In June of last year, Tennant was removed from the Atlantic County SWAT team for due to “numerous departmental cuts.” Tennant claims he was the only African-American member of the SWAT team from the Galloway Police Department, was on the team for eight years, and had a longer tenure than other members of the team who were retained.

Lt. Chris Doyle was named a party to three of the incidents, including the removal of Tennant from the SWAT team.

Due to the nature of the language used in the lawsuit, Galloway Patch will not be attaching a copy of the suit to the story, as normally would be the case.

tintonfallsretiree February 22, 2013 at 02:05 AM
Here we go again with the constant reprimanding of a particular employee. In 2011 it was the numerous reprimands with Lisa Tilton. Now it's the numerous reprimands against this officer. I think that this all points to a lack of oversight and specific procedures across all of the township's government. Arch Liston is looking forward to taking this to court. This is all on the township's taxpayers money as usual. When is Galloway Township going to get their act together?
galloway7757 February 22, 2013 at 02:08 AM
Neither am I. Every day you drive around this town you see three or four police cars that have a person pulled over that is of another race. What is the reason that you need to have that many cops for just a simple traffic violation!? And people wonder why the crime is on the rise in this town.
thomas gerrard February 22, 2013 at 02:09 AM
I thought the police were to uphold the constitution and the laws of the State. All men are treated equal.... The police must be policed
smithvillian February 22, 2013 at 02:16 AM
Tenure...I love that...you know, just because you have been in the same job for a long time doesn't mean you're good at it. As for the allegations.....who the h#ll knows....let the guy have his day in court....Viva La Gallaway...!
Keep Galloway Green February 22, 2013 at 03:35 AM
Galloway should be disbanded...It's just a big waste of taxpayer money. The Mayor & Council don't know what's going on with employees. It's become lawsuits & payouts. 2 lawsuits for $700,000?...Payouts to 2 cops for $60,000. A white collar criminal as CFO....former Township Manager buying hookers on work time. A lake that floods every rain storm. Mayor & Council refuse to fix anything on the property...like goalposts that have been broken since Oct 30...among other things. Galloway is a pathetic mess. This cop will probable get $250,000 or more (the going rate). Galloway is a mess & laughingstock of NJ....It's all just a robbery of taxpayers. Mayor & Council should resign if they had any integrity.
T. Ship February 22, 2013 at 04:16 AM
I can understand why there has not been a "department-wide-sensitivity tratining" instituted..for starters, it would mean that all would be held ACCOUNTABLE, and what appears to be "the good ole boy" network certainly wouldn't want any part of that.
Shawn G February 22, 2013 at 05:22 AM
So an employee with a spotty past sues because he keeps screwing up. He also was not the only Africa American on the force since 2003. Ofc. Salter handled an accident for me a couple years ago.
TheZog February 22, 2013 at 12:40 PM
November cannot come fast enough. Even if the Republican Party of Galloway replaces the idiots that they own on Council, the voters would be fools to put the replacements in. These Republican puppets (with the brain matter of inanimate objects) must all go. Hopefully, the Democrats will clean up this administrative nightmare.
Bigsmiley88 February 22, 2013 at 05:04 PM
Lol on some of these comments,I drive around Galloway Everyday too and I see a lot of White People Pulled over too ,for anyone to comment that they only see Minorities pulled over is obviously the Racist one.I've lived in Galloway for over 20 years and I have not seen or heard of any Galloway Police being Racist...This is just another Media Blown out of proportion Story...Pathetic
GallowayTwpNews February 22, 2013 at 06:27 PM
I beg to differ on the "Media Blown out of proportion Story" comment. When you have the Township who is the defendant in this case, releasing a Press Release to all of the media and television stations in the area with a prepared statement and releases the lawsuit....that is not the media blowing it out of proportion. The Township is the one who alerted the Media of this lawsuit. The media didn't happen to trip over this one through an OPRA request. You should ask your elected officials, Chief of Police and Management of Galloway Township, why they chose "this" particular lawsuit and blasted it to the media.
Bigsmiley88 February 22, 2013 at 06:45 PM
What I meant to say was the Commenters are already making it sound like the Galloway Police Dept is a Racist Dept "which it's not" before they even have there day in Court
T. Ship February 22, 2013 at 07:14 PM
So, you're saying that the employee who was suspended for SIX MONTHS(Ryan Cantz), was suspended for something frivolous? Too, I don't believe I read any comments that stated only african americans were pulled over. I believe the comment was addressing a concern for there being so many "backups" requested for one individual, not that I know what the circumstances were, although I have witnessed on a number of occasions that for some particular reason, it is deemed necessary to call out the cavalry when some police happend to pull over an african american. Finally, I just don't find it unthinkable that this individual officer has not experienced racial intimidation, retaliation or insensitivity, considering the composition of the police department.
T. Ship February 22, 2013 at 07:27 PM
AMEN TO THAT!!!!
Bigsmiley88 February 22, 2013 at 08:10 PM
Read Galloway7757 Comment.....and in my Statement I used the word Minorities not African Americans ....
Shawn G February 22, 2013 at 08:16 PM
Big Smiley agree! T ship your posts almost seem as though you have a personal interest in this case. Its safe to say most of your posts are easily dismissed by myself and other readers. You claim to know a lot about an incident from a 3 second drive by observation of the police. I for one am glad officers are out there doing their job. If they didn't you would probably criticize them for not being around.
Shawn G February 22, 2013 at 08:18 PM
7757 the second part above is directed at your comment
Bigsmiley88 February 22, 2013 at 08:23 PM
Just Because a Police Dept has more White Officers then African American Officers doesn't make it Racist.....I work with All Race's of people and believe me when I tell you this White People are not the only Racist People out there!!!!
tintonfallsretiree February 22, 2013 at 09:24 PM
You are right. The fact that Officer Salter was employed by GTPD from 2006-2010 was mentioned in the actual lawsuit. However, the article neglected to mention that.
galloway7757 February 22, 2013 at 09:30 PM
Are you saying that it was justified for the GTPD to have three officers pull me over for not wearing my seatbelt? Not only that, they blocked half a lane on Jimmie Leeds Rd. to do this and asked for consent to search my car. When I said no they backed off. I respect the job that they are sent to do and am grateful that they are out there. However, they did not need three squad cars to pull me over and block half of a road for just a seat belt violation. The other two cops could have been used elsewhere throughout the town while they had me pulled over. It's common sense that they did not use.
tintonfallsretiree February 22, 2013 at 09:45 PM
Where on earth did galloway7757 use african americans in his comments??? First you said they used the term "minorities" then you switched and said that they used the term "african americans." They used the term "of another race". I have no idea what article you are reading. You are the first person who mentioned a particular race in all of these comments.
Shawn G February 22, 2013 at 09:46 PM
Oh they pulled you over that completely explains everything in your posts.
galloway7757 February 22, 2013 at 10:01 PM
You are completely out of it. I have nothing against the GTPD. I am not upset that I got the ticket, I went and paid it the next day. I was wrong and admitted it right then and there. I am not upset that I got pulled over and got a ticket. I am confused over their lack of common sense and why they needed three cops for just a simple small traffic violation. I have no idea why you are jumping to false conclusions about me.
galloway7757 February 22, 2013 at 10:32 PM
You obviously did not read my comment correctly. I stated that every time I see three or more cop cars from Galloway that has someone pulled over, the person is most likely a non-white person. That is not a racist comment either, I am sticking up for the minority groups. Perhaps you should learn how to read a comment and comprehend it correctly before making a comment and calling me a racist. You have some nerve. Other than that, hopefully this officer will get the justice he seeks.
T. Ship February 22, 2013 at 11:48 PM
Shawn G., you are right. I do have a personal interest in this case, and that is that this officer who has been a member of this force for 13yrs. receives justice!! You also mentioned in an earlier comment that this officer somehow has a "spotty" past. I don't think that GPD is in the habit of hiring AND retaining for 13yrs officers with "spotty" pasts. Also, Shawn G, if you're reading ALL of the posted comments, I hardly think my posts have been, as YOU say "easily dismissed." If nothing more, I think it's provoked dialogue which, in my opinion, is better than continuing to sweep this type of matter under the rug. You also say you're glad officers are out there "doing their job." If the allegations against the GPD are substantiated, am I to understand that THAT is what you call "doing their job?"
Bigsmiley88 February 22, 2013 at 11:50 PM
I used the word minority another person used the word African American look at comment
tintonfallsretiree February 23, 2013 at 12:29 AM
And you forgot to add that you accused the wrong person!!! Galloway7757 who you went after, used the term, "of another race." You used the term "white people" which was the first direct reference to a race in this whole entire comment thread!!! It is called reading before you write a comment.
tintonfallsretiree February 23, 2013 at 12:34 AM
This whole comment thread has turned into Shawn G. and BigSmiley88 vs. Galloway 7757 and T. Ship. It is turning away from the real facts with non-related comments. Guys, respect each other's opinions and most importantly don't fight back. It is too early in the process to make any judgements. We have to wait for this to play out in court. We can all know that Galloway Township will have a tough leg to stand on due to their last performances in the previous lawsuits. They will likely lose this lawsuit due to their lack of oversight. But like I said we can't make a judgement on whether or not they are "racist" until this is resolved in court.
Bigsmiley88 February 23, 2013 at 12:54 AM
Your right Bostonfan93 it def got off topic ,I was out of line for calling Galloway7757 Racist I don't these people so I shouldn't judge them by Comments...We'll see what the Courts say ,there is 2 sides to every story so we should here both sides before commenting!!!!
Joseph Connelly February 23, 2013 at 10:44 PM
Only the lawyers win. Even if the officer in question gets a big payday he gains nothing of lasting value. Quality supervision at the street level is the key to a good poliice department and economic protection for the taxpayer.
58yearGresident February 27, 2013 at 01:56 PM
Step out of your cave and talk to your neighbors, Galloway has been well known to be run leaning racially for years. Apply to Galloway for work and you will hear "If your not white or from the Beacon Church - GOOD LUCK"! But in Galloways Defense "They Dislike all Ethnic Groups EQUALLY"! That IS Sarcasm in case you missed it.

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