- The Washington Times - Friday, May 30, 2014

A white police officer in New York who accused his then-mayoral boss, Freeport’s Andrew Hardwick, of passing him up for promotion to chief in favor of a Hispanic has won a reverse-discrimination case in court.

Jurors in Long Island awarded Lt. Christopher Barrella $1.35 million, according to news website The Blaze. The village of Freeport will also have to pay for his legal fees.

“I am very gratified that the jury ruled that I deserved to be chief of police,” Mr. Barrella said in a statement. “Throughout this entire process, I have tried to maintain a positive attitude and do my best for the department and the village of Freeport and will continue to do so. It has been a long and trying process, but I always had faith that if we could present our case to a jury of my peers, they would see that I was discriminated against.”

His attorneys, Amanda Fugazy and Adam Weiss, heralded the decision.

“The evidence was quite overwhelming, leaving no doubt that Hardwick took race into account when hiring the chief of police and in many other employment decisions he made as mayor,” Mr. Weiss said, The Blaze reported.

For instance, court testimony and evidence revealed that Mr. Hardwick actually tried to change rules that would allow the department’s Hispanic lieutenant, Miguel Bermudez to apply for chief, have enough time in grade for the position.

Mr. Barrella’s resume included a top score on the chief’s civil service exam, compared to a third-place finish by Mr. Bermudez, The Blaze reported. Mr. Barrella also touted a law degree, a master’s degree in public administration, specialized training at the FBI academy, and many years in service. Mr. Bermudez, by contrast, had a high school diploma.

Freeport officials didn’t offer any comment to The Blaze on the court decision.

• Cheryl K. Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com.

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