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Acting Police Chief on Paid Leave Seeks $2.5M in Damages

James Behre was placed on leave last month days after he publicly accused a councilman of asking for favoritism.

Bloomfield's acting police chief who was placed on paid administrative leave last month has filed notice he's seeking $2.5 million in damages.

James Behre's attorney filed a notice of a tort claim last week on the township and police department for damages to future jobs, promotions and overtime while enduring “intentional retaliation and harassment,” according to NJ.com. A tort claim is a notice that a lawsuit may be filed if an agreement is not reached.

Acting Police Chief James Behre was placed on paid leave, pending a fitness for duty exam, just days after he publicly denounced Councilman Carlos Bernard for allegedly asking for favoritism toward Hispanic officers and to allegedly fix a parking ticket.

Bernard has denied the allegations, saying he was asking questions—not making demands—to advocate for minority officers.

Behre became acting police chief when Chris Goul took early retirement on Jan. 1 as the department came under fire for the suspension of two police officers who served in the U.S. Marines.

Patrol officers Michael McCracken and Hector Cartagena were accused of taking time off from their police jobs and falsely claiming it as time spent serving in the military. The two officers were reinstated in January after Goul's retirement.

Former Newark Police Director Samuel DeMaio was hired in February to conduct a six-month management and accountability study of the Bloomfield Police Department.

The police department most recently came under fire last month when a police cruiser dashboard video surfaced showing township officers beating a man during a 2012 traffic stop on the Garden State Parkway.

An internal affairs investigation found no wrongdoing by the officers. However, the video has since exonerated the driver of the vehicle and led to indictments against officers Orlando Trinidad and Sean Courter.

The two officers have pleaded not guilty to conspiracy, official misconduct, tampering with public records and false swearing charges. Trinidad also pleaded not guilty to aggravated assault.

A third officer, Albert Sutterlin, retired early after pleading guilty to tampering, according to NorthJersey.com.
JC in Bloomfield March 14, 2014 at 06:24 PM
The captain has a good chance. When was the last time Bloomfield won a case? Councilman, pay your dam $70 ticket. Bloomfield leadership at its best
jojo March 14, 2014 at 08:15 PM
What else is new? But it is my general understanding that to sue for damages incurred, you have to show that you lost something. This guy is still being paid, may be reinstated, and if his job would cost him 2.5, he is being paid too much in the first place for this loser police department. Just add it to the 80,000

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