A GAY PHILADELPHIA police officer claims he was harassed and transferred to an unwanted overnight shift after a supervisor discovered his sexual orientation, according to a lawsuit filed yesterday in Common Pleas Court.
Officer N. Melville Jones, 44, said Daniel Castro, then a police captain, began to harass him in 2009 after Jones declined a job that Castro offered him.
Jones didn't want the position because Castro had a tainted "reputation and history . . . of pressuring subordinates to doctor incident reports," according to the lawsuit. Castro, who was fired from his position as a police inspector, is in federal prison after his conviction in a 2010 shakedown plot of a business partner who owed him $90,000.
In his lawsuit, Jones charges that Castro was so angry that Jones refused his job offer, that he pressured Jones to return from medical leave, even though his doctor hadn't cleared him to do so. He also later had him transferred to "a graveyard shift" and circulated a memo on which Jones was listed as "Mel Jones Cums," according to the lawsuit.
Castro's behavior went unchecked in a police department in which gay cops generally are "subject to harassment, held in low esteem and are at an increased risk of harm," Jones' lawyer, Gerald Jay Pomerantz, said. Jones is seeking unspecified damages for emotional distress, Pomerantz said.
Jones, a 15-year veteran who still works for the department, filed two complaints with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission, but neither was substantiated.
Lt. John Stanford, a police spokesman, said he wasn't aware of the lawsuit, adding: "Daniel Castro is no longer an employee for the city of Philadelphia."