Jersey City police officers John Bado and George Manuel have filed a lawsuit claiming then-Capt. Edgar Martinez, the city’s North District commander from December 2012 until August 2018, had an “anti-white” racial bias which negatively impacted their careers.
Though Edgar Martinez is now a provisional deputy chief, his record as captain and commander of the Jersey City Police Department’s (JCPD) North District is being challenged in Superior Court.
JCPD officers John Bado and George Manuel have filed a thirteen-count lawsuit in the Superior Court of New Jersey against the City of Jersey City, JCPD, and Martinez, claiming they were the victims of discrimination – on the basis of their race and age – while working in the city’s North District.
Martinez, who is Hispanic, and was the city’s North District commander from December 2012 until August 2018 (including all times relevant to the lawsuit), allegedly abused his position within the JCPD to “harass and discriminate against senior, white officers including Bado and Manuel.”
Bado and Manuel, employed by the JCPD since 1995 and 2003, respectively, say they were subjected to “disparate treatment” and a “hostile work environment” – which included the “undermining of their authority and responsibility as senior officers; denial of overtime opportunities; punitive transfers and scheduling; the refusal to investigate their complaints; intense and unwarranted surveillance; and various other petty acts of harassment.”
Specifically, Bado alleges Martinez refused to approve him for Method of Instruction (MOI) training – denying him the opportunity to become certified as a self-defense and firearms instructor. The complaint states “less qualified Hispanic officers were approved” by Martinez for MOI training, and that Bado was once “selected to be made a Field Training Officer (FTO) by then Captain Phil Zacche.”
Zacche, the ex-JCPD chief convicted by federal authorities of off-duty corruption, is white and served as North District commander prior to Martinez. He’s described as “retired” in the lawsuit.
All that said, allegations surrounding a parking ticket issued by Bado is the most revealing claim made in the lawsuit pertaining to racial tensions.
The drama starts with Bado writing a summons after he observed a vehicle improperly parked on the sidewalk. Then, according to the lawsuit, fellow JCPD officer Chris Matias, who is Hispanic, approached Bado and “advised that the ticketed vehicle belonged to his friend.”
Matias supposedly “demanded that Bado void the ticket and then threatened to physically harm Bado,” per the complaint. Bado states that he “refused to void the ticket which was properly issued,” and that Martinez “was made aware of the incident,” but, “in an act of retaliation,” decided to transfer Bado to another district.
Furthermore, Martinez allegedly “started rumors and made disparaging comments about Bado and Manuel which caused other officers to shun them and/or not want to work with them,” according to the complaint. Additionally, the plaintiffs claim “Martinez’s overt discrimination and harassment had and continues to have a tremendous negative impact” on them.
Of note, despite not being able to pass the civil service exam, Martinez has been given the title of provisional deputy chief – along with 16 other JCPD captains that were eligible to take the test. As he awaits another test in December, Martinez is serving as chief of patrol in his current rank.
Additionally, Martinez is rumored to be a front-runner for chief of police once current JCPD Chief Michael Kelly becomes eligible for a bigger pension and retires.
Bado and Manuel’s lawsuit is the second complaint reported on by Real Jersey City related to the JCPD’s North District, the first being ex-JCPD officer Lou Ramos. In his lawsuit, Ramos claims that instead of stopping harassment he faced at work, Martinez told him that he “needed to have thick skin.”
The City of Jersey City spokesperson was not reached for comment on this story. Public Safety Director James Shea has previously stated the Fulop Administration never comments on litigation.
Bado and Manuel are represented by attorney Craig A. Borgen of the law firm Miller & Borgen.