A Bayonne police officer is alleging he faced retaliation after being accused of reporting superiors driving drunk after a monthly union meeting.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
“On January 3, 2021, Plaintiff EDUARDO MENA-RAMOS received a call from a concerned officer, who said that he needed to speak with him. At 2215 hours on that date, the concerned officer came to Plaintiff Eduardo Mena-Ramos’ house and spoke with him for about 20-30 minutes,” a lawsuit filed in Hudson County Superior Court on July 15th says.
“During their conversation, the concerned officer stated that he found out that there was a complaint filed against Lt. Kubert and that Plaintiff EDUARDO MENA-RAMOS was the person ‘they’ thought filed the complaint. The concerned officer also added that the complaint was regarding drinking and driving at the CG during the SOA meeting.”
The complaint indicates that the Bayonne Police Superior Officers Association held a meeting in the parking lot of the Central Garage, located at 330 Hook Road, on December 3rd, 2020.
Lt. Michael Kubert is the BPSOA president and son of Robert Kubert, Bayonne’s public safety director and a retired police chief.
While Mena-Ramos denied filing a complaint curing the course of an investigation by the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office early this year, he contends through the court filing that he continued to face blowback with the department as if he did.
In February, he was moved to a new office after an internal affairs investigation was opened “based on false allegation” from Police Chief Robert Geisler, who is named as a defendant in the suit along with the city and the police department.
The investigation ultimately determined that Mena-Ramos did not engage in any wrongdoing, according to the suit.
On March 17th, SOA members received performance notices “for consuming
alcoholic beverages on department property,” stemming from the anonymous IA complaint that had been blamed on Mena-Ramos.
Despite meeting the standards of a personnel evaluation on March 11th, Capt. William Parsley gave Mena-Ramos two performance notices on March 18th, and then a new sign-up sheet was put into effect to monitor his unit’s usage of a departmental vehicle on March 24th.
Mena-Ramos contends that the take home vehicle had been assigned to him since May 2020.
On that same day, internal affairs sent him a notice indicating he was the target of a yet another investigation due to “collateral issues that arose after the HCPO investigation.”
By April, he had an internal affairs interview for a hostile work environment scheduled, but that was cancelled and he was served a notice for alleged harassment in the work place right before getting transferred to the patrol division and was asked to return his detective badge.
He was also denied the ability to work night so that he could continue taking IT classes and ultimately had to stop taking the course.
“Because Plaintiff Eduardo Mena-Ramos was perceived to be the author of a complaint itemizing alleged wrongdoing within the Bayonne Police Department, he was targeted for retaliation,” the complaint states.
“Plaintiff Eduardo Mena-Ramos found that targeting to be an affront to the efficient operation of the law enforcement agency for which employed and further found that targeting to be in violation of his understanding of the law as well as his understanding of the public the State of New Jersey.”
The three-count suit is seeking compensatory and punitive damages, as well as attorney’s fees, litigation costs, and any other relief the court deems just and equitable.
A city spokesman said it is city policy not to comment on pending litigation.