Local leaders met Monday in Pleasantville to show support for Atlantic County Prosecutor Damon G. Tyner in response to a lawsuit accusing him of gender discrimination, retaliation and other illicit behavior in his position as prosecutor.
“We said we’re going to do something to support Damon because all these accusations that are painting him as something different than what we know him to be. Its time for us to speak out publicly,” Charles Goodman said.
Goodman worked with Linda Steele and Pastor Willie Dwayne Francois III of Mt. Zion Baptist Church to hold a rally at the church. Goodman said the rally was meant to show support for Tyner’s character and not the lawsuit itself.
“They have the right to do what they’re doing. I respect the law and I respect what they’re doing,” Goodman said.
Two former and one current employee of the Prosecutor’s Office allege Tyner demoted high-ranking women while giving men raises, paid newly hired women at a lower rate, covered up complaints of gender discrimination and spoke in a derogatory fashion about women in general, according to the 90-plus-page suit filed in Atlantic County Superior Court.
In addition to allegations of gender discrimination, the three women claim Tyner was involved in mortgage fraud, failed to investigate a claim that a police officer was leaking confidential information about the April Kauffman murder case and failed to tell defense counsel about the possible leak, fired employees to hire his brother and refused to investigate after an assistant prosecutor exchanged advice via texts to a defendant in a pending domestic violence case.
Atlantic County Executive Dennis Levinson attended the rally and gave an impromptu speech to show support for someone he’s has known for dozens of years.
“They all spoke about the decency of the individual and just how horrible the accusations are,” Levinson said. “They are an honorable family. Damon all his life has been someone of good character.”
Tyner officially left his job as a New Jersey Superior Court judge in 2017 to become the first black Atlantic County prosecutor.
Levinson said that Tyner’s decision to step down from a lifelong position to become county prosecutor speaks to his character.
“It was almost unheard of because he really cared about his community and thought he could make a difference,” Levenson said.