Last week, an Essex County jury ordered Millburn to pay $455,000 to a former police sergeant who filed a whistleblower lawsuit. According to NJ.com, the suit alleged that township officials took retaliatory actions against the cop when he reported that a superior officer failed a firearms test.
According to the lawsuit, which was filed in 2012, the whistleblower reported that current Millburn Police Chief Gregory Weber failed to meet the minimum requirements to renew his firearm qualification. Weber was captain at the time, NJ.com reports. The lawsuit states that Weber was not able to shoot accurately when down on his knee. The former cop who filed the whistleblower suit alleged that he was retaliated against for reporting this; the suit alleges that he was wrongfully subjected to a criminal investigation, had his promotion withheld and was removed as firearms range master.
According to the whistleblower’s attorney, Weber filed a criminal allegation that the whistleblower purposely failed him. The lawsuit says the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office decided to not pursue the case.
The whistleblower alleges that he should have been promoted to lieutenant, but was not. Weber removed the whistleblower as firearms range master when he became police chief, the whistleblower’s attorney said. He also told NJ.com that “This should really send a message…to municipalities and governing bodies who retaliate against law enforcement officers…for doing their job. It’s that simple.”
Individuals can file whistleblower lawsuits when they have knowledge about a party’s wrongdoing. They are protected from retaliatory actions. If a whistleblower lawsuit leads to covered funds on behalf of the government, then the whistleblower is entitled to a certain percentage of the amount removed.