ATLANTIC CITY — A former deputy police chief has filed a lawsuit against the city, the Police Department, Chief Henry White and former Mayor Donald A. Guardian, claiming White retaliated against him for voicing complaints about the department.
William Mazur alleges that after complaining about White’s decisions about personnel, discipline, overtime, internal affairs investigations and other issues, White stripped away his authority as deputy chief, causing him to retire in October 2017. Mazur is seeking punitive damages in an amount to be decided by a jury.
The city’s Solicitor’s Office has not returned a request for comment Friday afternoon, and Atlantic City Police Department Public Information Officer Sgt. Kevin Fair said the department will not comment on pending litigation.
“To the best of my knowledge he (had) a good and professional relation with myself, my predecessor Mayor Langford and AC Tourism District Commander Tom Gilbert,” Guardian said in a statement. “I had worked with Billy prior to becoming mayor and found him to be extremely helpful and professional.”
Mazur’s attorney, Steven Scheffler, said Mazur was forced into retirement and that the “longstanding traditions of the good-old boy network which has driven the ACPD and permitted the chief of police to wield his power to go unchecked and be used in a way that has zero accountability should no longer be tolerated.”
The lawsuit alleges White believed Mazur was “his direct political rival” for the chief position, and indicated Mazur was “plotting to unseat” him and threatened his role as chief through Mazur’s relationships with Gilbert and former Mayor Lorenzo Langford.
In addition, the suit alleges White refused to put Mazur in charge of the Office of Professional Standards in the Internal Affairs Division so White “could continue to influence the decision-making of the Internal Affairs Division to protect his friends and political allies on the police force” who became the subject of citizen complaints.
Finally, after Mazur complained about the lack of police assigned to the May 2017 Stockton University graduation at Boardwalk Hall, White transferred Mazur out of the division he was commanding, overseeing 100-150 officers, to the IT division, where he oversaw five officers, socially and professionally isolating him, according to the suit.
“The taxpayers, citizens and visitors of Atlantic City deserve better,” Scheffler said in a statement. “Deputy Mazur’s desire through this lawsuit is to change the landscape regarding leadership of the Atlantic City Police Department. He believes it is time for true accountability in terms of ethics, integrity and respect for all employees on every level of the Atlantic City Police Department.”