A former Matawan police lieutenant is suing the township, alleging his superiors retaliated towards him by firing him over his CBD oil use.
In a lawsuit filed in Monmouth County, Christopher Stark contends he was focused by the division with a drug take a look at after he filed a certification in April 2019 in assist of a sexual discrimination lawsuit introduced by fellow officer Jennifer Paglia.
Based on the go well with, Stark was chosen for a random drug take a look at 4 months later and he examined optimistic for Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the energetic ingredient in marijuana which might be present in CBD oil in hint quantities. He was ultimately fired this March, regardless of disclosing his use of CBD oil previous to the take a look at, offering receipts for the acquisition of the oil and displaying a letter from his physician explaining that he prescribed it, the criticism says.
“Stark was not utilizing unlawful medication, had prescriptions for his recognized medicines on the medical data type, and was by no means recognized as being underneath the affect, having his senses impaired, or his alertness diminished whereas on responsibility in his 21 plus years as a police officer with the Borough of Matawan,” the criticism reads.
An lawyer representing the township, Richard Ganter, didn’t reply to a request for remark.
CBD oil is authorized to buy in New Jersey and isn’t listed as a prohibited substance on the state lawyer common’s or Matawan Police Division’s drug testing coverage, the go well with contends.
Stark alleges he was retaliated towards for giving a sworn certification and deposition testimony in assist of Paglia’s motion towards the township.
In Paglia’s lawsuit, filed in 2018, she contends she was the topic of retaliation harassment for submitting a separate intercourse discrimination criticism towards Matawan 5 years earlier. In 2016, Matawan agreed to pay Paglia $315,000 to settle her first authorized motion, in line with Stark’s submitting.
In a solution to the go well with filed in Could, the township denied the allegations and mentioned they didn’t retaliate towards Stark due to his assist of Paglia’s case. The township additionally mentioned Stark “failed to supply requested documentation relating to the acquisition of the CBD oil and was untruthful.”
“No causal connection exists between (Stark’s) alleged protected conduct and any adversarial motion taken by the Borough of Matawan,” the reply reads.
Based on Stark’s criticism, he licensed in April 2019 that he had heard then-lieutenant, now Police Chief Thomas Falco say “F— that bitch, She’s attempting to take my home. We should always write her up for each little factor,” in reference to Paglia in 2015 after her first criticism had been filed. Stark licensed that Falco made the identical remark to him once more in March or April of 2016, after Paglia settled the case with the city, the go well with says.
Inside weeks, Stark alleges he was being known as “a rat” by others within the division and was ostracized by members of the pressure. He additionally contends he noticed a blackboard within the division that had a drawing of a “circle of belief” and “recognized (Stark) as being outdoors the circle of belief.”
Within the certification, which was hooked up to Stark’s lawsuit, Stark mentioned he instructed a patrolman to cease writing up Paglia “for small issues that everybody does within the police division,” and the officer responded that he was instructed to jot down up Paglia “for each little factor.”
Stark alleges the patrolman instructed him that Falco was the one that gave that route.
“Stark was ostracized by members of the division, together with his captain and Falco,’’ the lawsuit mentioned.
As a part of the go well with, Stark is searching for his job again, expungement of his disciplinary file and unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.
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