Officer Michael Acosta of the The West New York Police Department is about to see a nice bump in his bank account. The town’s board of commissioners just awarded him a $30,000 payout after he accused his supervisor, Robert Antolos, of discrimination.
Acosta is openly gay. (He also happens to be the son of the town’s controversial former deputy mayor.) In a lawsuit first filed back in 2014, he alleged Antolos denied him overtime shifts, filed baseless internal affairs complaints against him and made constant threats towards him all because of his sexual orientation. He was demanding back and front pay, compensatory and emotional distress damages and reasonable costs plus attorney’s fees and punitive damages.
Rather than battle it out in court, which would have cost the town an estimated $70,000-$80,000, the board of commissioners opted to throw Acosta $30,000 and call it a day.
But this isn’t the first time they’ve had trouble with the officer. It appears he has a reputation for causing trouble within the department dating all the way back to 2010.
In 2012, Acosta received a 30-day suspension without pay after admitting to “conduct unbecoming of a public employee, neglect of duty, misuse of public property, including motor vehicles, and violation of the department’s rules and regulations.”
Basically, between March 2010 and July 2010, he ran a total of 16 unwarranted “full-disclosure” checks on innocent citizens. A “full-disclosure” check gives an officer total access to a person’s private information, including where they live and their date of birth.
The investigation found that Acosta didn’t have any legitimate “law enforcement purposes” for running the checks and that he was doing so “for personal reasons.” What those “personal reasons” were was never actually determined, and many felt his 30-day suspension was far too lenient of a punishment for the then-deputy mayor’s adult son.
In 2014, Acosta again ran into trouble when he was accused of sexually harassing another man at work.
Christian Amaro, a former town Office of Emergency Management employee, filed a lawsuit against the department accusing Acosta of sexually harassing him on multiple occasions. The board of commissioners ended up paying Amaro a $97,000 settlement with no admission of wrongdoing.
Neither Acosta nor his attorney have released a statement on the $30,000 settlement.
h/t: Hudson County View