Nov 3 2013

Lowell pays $642,000 to former cop for retaliation by police department

Dr. Q

The Lowell Sun reports:

The city recently paid $642,000 to a former Lowell police officer, ending a long-running legal battle the former officer claims began in the late 1990s, when he tussled with a fellow officer who he claimed was “politically connected.”

The payment was made to Robert Alvarez, 55, of Methuen.

Alvarez initially sued the city in January 2006, claiming years of discrimination due to his race. After a 15-day trial and two days of deliberations, a Middlesex Superior Court jury rendered its decision on Deb. 1, 2006. It awarded Alvarez, a 19-year veteran, $15,000 for emotional distress, $60,000 for lost income and $90,000 in punitive damages for retaliation dating back to 1999.

In its verdict, the jury found that the LPD did not discriminate against Alvarez, but did retaliate against him when he filed discrimination claims with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination. The Sun reported at the time that the jury agreed in its verdict that the city’s conduct showed “reckless indifference to others.”

The city, however, appealed the decision, and in December 2011, the Appeals Court stated that the jury “reasonably could have concluded that the department equated Alvarez’s filing of an MCAD complaint with a bad attitude, and then denied Alvarez opportunities and assignments on that basis going forward.”

The Sun was unaware of that ruling until it received a letter earlier this month from one of Alvarez’s lawyers, Matthew Fogelman of Newton.

Read the rest of this article here.