October 24, 2020

Race-based Campus Police lawsuit dismissed

The Mercer County Superior Court dismissed allegations of race-based discrimination against the College and three white Campus Police officers on Feb. 1, according to lawyer Mark Pfeffer, who is representing the three black Campus Police officers involved — Security Officers Wayne Evans and Armond Harris and Police Officer Lorenzo Shockley.

Pfeffer said in an e-mail that he and his clients will be filing an appeal with the Appellate Division of the Superior Court, which he anticipates will take a year to decide.

The lawsuit, which was filed in June 2008, stemmed from complaints filed by Evans, Harris and Shockley. After investigating charges of derogatory behavior and determining that “some form of racial discrimination had occurred,” the College issued Sgt. Raymond Scully and Officers Matthew Mastrosimone and Kevin McCullough six and two-day suspensions, respectively, according to a deposition by Vivian Fernandez, associate vice-president for Human Resources. Court depositions and testimonies given by other members of the Campus Police Department indicate that the defendants indirectly learned of the plaintiffs using “racial-ly charged nicknames and

slurs” — such as “shadows” and “chocolate chips”— in reference to them.

Though dismissed, the issue is far from over.

“We wouldn’t be filing an appeal unless we believed the judge erred in her ruling on the defendants’ motions,” Pfeffer said.

Katie Brenzel can be reached at brenzel2@tcnj.edu.

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