Jersey City Faces $1.2M in Settlements Over Discrimination, Police Negligence, and Traffic Incident
Jersey City is on the brink of allocating nearly $1.2 million to conclude four outstanding lawsuits. These cases span two allegations of gender discrimination, a grievous accident involving an unmarked city vehicle, and an instance of police negligence.
The council members are slated to decide on the settlements for Sabrina Harrold, Sabrina Pagan, Mark Sanders, and Vanessa Gross this coming Wednesday. Of these, Sanders is expected to receive the most substantial sum, $550,000, closely followed by Harrold at $500,000.
Kimberly Wallace-Scalcione, the city’s spokeswoman, attributed the slew of settlements to the state courts’ recent initiative to clear their pending cases. She remarked, “With the state courts lining up cases for settlement discussions, these lawsuits have become part of that motion.”
Harrold, previously affiliated with the city’s Recreation Department, instigated a lawsuit against Jersey City, citing age and gender discrimination during Artie Williams’s directorship. Harrold’s lawsuit, initiated in 2020, detailed the city’s alleged backlash against her subsequent to her revelations about payroll irregularities concerning a former supervisor. After news broke regarding the payroll scandal, Harrold contends she was hastily reassigned to the Department of Health and Human Services. Notably, she has another ongoing lawsuit against the Jersey City Board of Education, alleging racial bias.
Gross’s lawsuit, in which she seeks $85,000, stems from claims of gender discrimination during her tenure as a firefighter in Jersey City. She reported being belittled and facing professional setbacks after opposing derogatory comments made by senior officers. Gross’s pioneering role as one of the earliest Hispanic female firefighters in the Jersey City Fire Department, since 2013, further underlines the gravity of her allegations.
Pagan’s lawsuit, leading to a proposed $55,000 settlement, hinges on police negligence. She reports a harrowing encounter with her ex-boyfriend who ambushed her at home. Despite pleading with the officers, they remained passive, demanding to see a protective order which was inside her apartment. Tragically, this delay resulted in her being assaulted.
Lastly, Sanders’s proposed settlement results from severe injuries he sustained during a collision with an unmarked police car on Kennedy Boulevard. The police vehicle, driven by Officer John Boamah, struck Sanders while he was on his motorcycle.
As the City Council gears up for Wednesday’s decision, these cases underscore the imperative for transparency, responsibility, and due diligence in city matters.