ATLANTIC CITY — A jury awarded an city police officer with a history of excessive-force claims against him $40,000 in February in his whistleblower claim about his 2012 report of another officer’s use of excessive force.
The Police Department declined to comment, citing ongoing litigation. City representatives did not return requests for comment.
Sgt. Frank Timek filed his complaint in December 2012 claiming the city had violated the state’s Conscientious Employee Protection Act and his termination from the K-9 unit was an adverse employment action. He filed an amended complaint after the city disciplined him with a 90-day suspension in February 2015.
The decision vindicates his claims, Timek’s attorney Louis Barbone said.
The jury awarded Timek $24,000 in lost wages for his 90-day suspension with an additional $16,000 for emotional distress.
Timek’s attorney has filed a request for injunctive relief regarding his appeal of his suspension.
His 2016 total salary was $125,009, according to a Press database.
Timek was promoted to sergeant in May 2012, which forced him out of the K-9 unit. He also was at the center of a number of excessive-force claims during his time with the unit.
According to Press archives, Timek had 52 allegations of excessive force against him in 11 years. No disposition is listed for two of those cases; 49 were exonerated or not sustained. A charge f “unsworn falsification to authorities” March 20, 2006, was sustained, according to Press archives.
In his lawsuit, Timek said he was removed from the K-9 unit after he reported what he believed was illegal conduct by Sgt. Mark Benjamin at an incident at Proud Mary’s Sports Bar in March 2012.
In 2015, he was suspended as the result of an incident at the Tropicana in May 2013. During that incident, Timek was removing a drunken patron who had been kicked out of a casino bar for fighting. The two were in an elevator with another officer. According to court documents, Timek struck the man once with an open hand.
In his use-of-force report, Timek said the man had grabbed his genitals, forcing him to strike him to regain control.
The city’s Internal Affairs investigation recommended charges against Timek, and he was found not guilty by an independent hearing officer. The city’s business administrator reversed the decision and imposed a 90-day suspension, according to court documents. Timek appealed to the state Civil Service Commission, which transferred his case for a trail before the Office of Administrative Law.
Timek’s attorney Barbone also filed a motion for $4,405 in litigation costs, $139,400 in attorney fees and civil fines of $10,000 and $20,000 against the city. A hearing on the matter is set for April 13.