A Trenton, N.J., jury awarded $6.8 million to two senior white correction officers who said they were harassed and subjected to bogus disciplinary charges by black supervisors, reports the Newark Star-Ledger. The jury said the state Department of Corrections violated New Jersey's Law Against Discrimination when it transferred the two officers, Joseph Milutin, 46, and Robert Healey, 52, and failed to address hostility directed at them and other white officers at a program for nonviolent offenders in New Lisbon.
“My clients complained about this for seven years and it was all buried,” said Gina Mendola Longarzo, a lawyer for the officers. “Wwhen African American officers made complaints, they investigated it with a speed and with ferociousness that would make your head spin,” she said. In addition to damages for pain, suffering and lost pay, the jury awarded the officers $3 million each in punitive damages against the department. The award was one of the highest in a reverse discrimination case in state history.