A retired Atlantic City deputy police chief has filed a whistleblower suit claiming retaliation by the police chief.
William Mazur claims Police Chief Henry White believed him to be a rival for the chief’s position and that he was punished when he complained about issues like overtime misuse and staffing shortages.
The suit also names former Mayor Don Guardian, the department, the city and 10 potential “John Doe” defendants.
Mazur alleges White believed that he was trying to unseat the chief with the help of then-Tourism Director Tom Gilbert. White then allegedly convinced Guardian that Mazur was a political appointee of the former mayor, Lorenzo Langford, who was Guardian’s rival in the election.
But, according to the 11-page complaint obtained by BreakingAC, Mazur says he was just trying to address unsafe conditions in the department.
READ FULL LAWSUIT HERE
Mazur’s whistleblower lawyer, Steve Scheffler, said the suit “was long overdue” afte Mazur was forced to retire “as a direct result of the diabolical actions of Chief White and blind inactions of former Mayor Guardian.”
Mazur tried “to resolve matters internally and amicably, however, all such attempts were ignored and impeded by defendants,” he said.
Every time Mazur spoke about the issues, the suit claims, White “deliberately and intentionally altered the conditions of the plaintiff’s working environment by transferring necessary personnel under (Mazur’s) command, excluding him from departmental wide meetings as a deputy chief , stripping (him) of command of a majority of personnel of the entire Police Department, reassigning (his) duties, transferring him to another location or building all in retaliation and reprisal for (Mazur’s) political association and his exercise of free speech…”
When Mazur told White he would be submitting a plan to address his concerns about issues that were affected the public’s and officers’, he was told, “Go ahead and submit your plan. You won’t like what’s coming.”
What came, the suit alleges, is that the next day White transferred almost a quarter of the division Mazur was commanding at the time, leaving the division “extremely understaffed and undermanned.”
Mazur also alleges that White led Guardian to believe that Mazur was a political appointee of Guardian’s rival, former Mayor Lorenzo Langford, the suit claims.
White believed Mazur’s “perceived political association with (then) Atlantic City Tourism Director Tom Gilbert and (Langford) directly threatened and created a challenge to him for the chief of police position,” the lawsuit filed Friday states.
Around May 2015, Mazur alleges he was confronted by White and an unnamed deputy chief who told him they believed he and Gilbert were trying to unseat the chief.
“Once again, the leadership of the Atlantic City Police Department was caught severely abusing power by perpetrating a clear pattern of retaliatory adverse employment action against an employee for political motives,” Scheffler said.
“We are confident through discovery that this will be a well-documented case reflecting years of adverse employment actions perpetrated by the defendants against my client,” he said. “Deputy Chief Mazur’s desire through this lawsuit is to change the landscape regarding leadership of the Atlantic City Police Department. He believes it is time for true accountability in terms of ethics, integrity and respect for all employees on every level of the Alantic city Police Department. Unfortunately, the regime of Mayor Guardian and Chief White will be looked back upon as a very dark time in Atlantic City’s history. Numerous lawsuits and significant monetary settlements could have been avoided with some accountability by the city’s leadership.”
White said he had not heard of the suit until asked about it by a BreakingAC reporter. He has not had time to read it and respond.