When a police officer is implicated in 16 civil rights lawsuits, leaving the government to pay more than $300,000 in settlements, most people would think it’s time to terminate the officer’s employment. The New York City Police Department is taking a different approach, however, by awarding the problematic officer with a promotion and raise.
Sergeant Fritz Glemaud is a narcotics officer often assigned to work undercover. Although a member of the police force for nearly two decades, in recent years, he has been the subject of many lawsuits for allegations including excessive force, undue arrests and falsified sworn affidavits.
Despite the ongoing legal drama, last week Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly gave Glemaud a $14,000 raise to go along with a new title: “Sergeant Supervisor Detective squad.” The raise brings Glemaud’s annual salary to $114,474. That’s not counting the tens of thousands he will earn in overtime. In a single year, Glemaud took home more than $37,000 in overtime compensation.
It’s generous payment for a man who is believed to have falsely charged a senior citizen woman with selling cocaine. After Glemaud is said to have strip-searched her and forced her into an embarrassing position, NYC had to shell out $35,000 to settle with the woman.
Another unresolved lawsuit alleges that Glemaud and associates behaved dangerously when doing a narcotic search in a family’s home. Glemaud is accused of shooting the family dog three times for no reason, then falsely arresting the family members on charges that were subsequently dropped.
Police representatives insist that Glemaud’s lawsuit record is blown out of proportion, claiming that because Glemaud works in Narcotics, he encounters career criminals who “know how to work the system.” NYPD spokesperson John McCarthy says, “The fact that an officer is named in a lawsuit is not an indication of wrongdoing… Settlements are straightforward business decisions made by the city and are also not an indication of guilt.”
While a single infraction may not be enough to condemn an offer, a pattern of more than a dozen such charges should probably warrant an investigation rather than a promotion.
Then again, an agency as corrupt as the NYPD may look at Glemaud’s array of civil rights violations as a plus. To a police force that infringes on the human rights and First Amendment rights of protesters, secretly spies on Muslims on a macro level and institutes a stop-and-frisk policy that targets minorities (a program that the city continues to defend despite being found unconstitutional), Glemaud’s lawless way of “enforcing the law” might actually be commendable.
In fact, this incident wouldn’t be the first time NYPD bestowed a promotion on someone with so many complaints. A fellow Narcotics officer, Daniel Sbarras, cost the city $400,000 in settlements after 15 lawsuits, yet was promoted in 2011 anyway. Only after Sbarra’s checkered history received media attention did the NYPD switch him to desk duty.
Photo Credit: Sean MacEntee