A former Millville police captain filed a civil lawsuit against the city and the chief of police earlier this year alleging he was forced into retirement after taking leave to care for his sick mother.

Harrison B. Cranmer, of Lawrence Township, claims Chief Jody Farabella took “malicious and retaliatory actions” against him in violation of the New Jersey Family Leave Act after he used accrued sick time to take care of his sick mother in Philadelphia last year.

Cranmer wants a jury trial and is seeking compensatory and punitive damages, attorney’s fees and reinstatement, according to the lawsuit filed in Cumberland County Superior Court on Feb. 28.

Neither Sebastian Ionno nor James Birchmeier, attorneys for Cranmer and for the city and Farabella, respectively, returned a request for comment.

After Cranmer filed to take leave to care for his mother in early 2018, Farabella was “immediately hostile,” the complaint states. When Cranmer returned at the end of February, Farabella gave him notice that his promotion a year prior was “provisional” and set to expire.

The next month, an ordinance was introduced and then adopted that lowered the number of captains employed by the department from two to one, demoting Cranmer to lieutenant and reducing his pay, according to the complaint.

Fearing further retaliation, Cranmer filed for retirement, but then tried to rescind his application, which was denied, and he was “forced” to retire in June, according to the complaint.

In an answer to the complaint, Birchmeier denies Farabella and the city “engaged in any type of retaliatory acts.”

Contact: 609-272-7241 mbilinski@pressofac.com Twitter @ACPressMollyB

Staff Writer

My beat is public safety, following police and crime. I started in January 2018 here at the Press covering Egg Harbor and Galloway townships. Before that, I worked at the Reading Eagle in Reading, Pa., covering crime and writing obituaries.

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