NEW YORK (1010 WINS) -- A former NYPD lieutenant who claimed she faced retaliation after she stuck up for another officer on Wednesday was granted $872,000 in a jury verdict against the department.
“We are happy with the verdict and applaud the jury’s clear message to the NYPD that unlawful retaliation will not be tolerated,” Olaechea’s attorney John Scola said.
Lt. Angelique Olaechea, 51, testified during a week-long trial in Manhattan Federal Court that she was transferred to Brooklyn, brought up on departmental charges, and had spread rumors that she was having an affair with another officer as a form of punishment by Captain Vincent Greany, the officer then in charge of the 9th Precinct in the East Village and his second-in-command, Lt. Daniel Brown, for testifying against them at an NYPD departmental trial.
Olaechea alleged that the retaliation began after she received a complaint in October 2015 from Officer Javier Velazquez, saying he was being mistreated by higher-ups at the precinct and placed on “punishment posts,” and was sent into unnecessarily dangerous situations, according to the lawsuit.
The suit said that she helped Velazquez, 43, file a complaint with the NYPD’s Office of Equal Employment Opportunity and then helped him file a second complaint two months later where shortly after he was brought up on departmental charges for “discourtesy to a senior officer.”
Olaechea testified on Velazquez’s behalf during his 2016 departmental trial and said that she had personally witnessed the discrimination against Velazquez by Brown and Greany.
The suit also said that Greany and Brown began telling other members of the precinct that Olaechea gave Velazquez “preferential treatment” because the two were romantically involved on the same day she testified.
Velazquez’s wife also complained that her husband and Olaechea were having an affair and said she could prove it with receipts from their trip to Puerto Rico.
Velazquez and Olaechea denied any romantic involvement.
Just two weeks later Olaechea was transferred to the 79th Precinct in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, for engaging in a “pattern of unacceptable behavior” that allegedly included showing favoritism to Velazquez after nine years at the 9th Precinct and issued five retroactive infractions, including failing to submit an overtime report and failing to report two off-duty police-involved incidents at her home in Nassau County.
Olaechea was found guilty of four of the five charges at a departmental trial.
“The fact that Captain Greany and Lt. Brown dredged up and charged Lt. Olaechea with this petty violation five months after the fact, immediately following her trial testimony, is evidence of its retaliatory nature,” the suit said. “This is at best a trivial violation that ordinarily would not merit a disciplinary charge.”
In 2018 Olaechea resigned from the NYPD after a judge recommended she be terminated following her departmental trial.