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Gay cop sues NYC, police, for harassment

BY SAMUEL MAULL, Associated Press

A gay police officer has filed a discrimination suit against the city and the New York Police Department, saying he was threatened with violence, called vulgar names and treated unfairly by supervisors because of his sexuality.

The lawsuit was filed by Michael Harrington, 30, who claims his superior officers failed to take proper action when he told them about the malicious and discriminatory mistreatment he suffered.

"The hell he's gone through is heart wrenching," said Harrington's lawyer, George D. Rosenbaum.

Connie Pankratz, spokeswoman for the city's Law Department, said the city had not seen the lawsuit and could not comment.

Harrington says in court papers that his trouble with co-workers started in February 2003, when he told another officer at the 75th Precinct in Brooklyn that he was gay.

Harrington, of Brooklyn, said in the suit that within months he overheard an officer in the men's room referring to him as a "faggot." Harrington spoke to the officer who said he would hurt Harrington if he confronted the officer again.

Court papers say Harrington also repeatedly sought a transfer from the 75th Precinct but his written applications "kept getting lost." He was told that after he finally transferred, that someone posted obscene drawings of him in a sex act, the lawsuit alleges.

While working at the 79th Precinct in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, Harrington brought his domestic partner to the station house Christmas party. Upon introducing his partner, another officer spit out his drink and began laughing.

Harrington says he complained to a supervisor about being mistreated and the supervisor said he was going to transfer him to the Sixth Precinct in Greenwich Village "so plaintiff could be with his people," the suit said.

At the Sixth Precinct, court papers say, a co-worker told Harrington in December 2006 that "all faggots should be shot."

According to the suit, the stress, harassment and a hostile work environment caused Harrington to develop stomach cramps and nausea.

The lawsuit, filed Wednesday at a state court in Manhattan, asked for unspecified money damages.

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