A suspended Gloucester Township public works employee was convicted Thursday of charges stemming from an incident involving the caging and racial taunting of a coworker three years ago, authorities said.
Township resident David T. Pomianek, 32, was found guilty of harassment, bias intimidation, and official misconduct after six hours of jury deliberations, the Camden County Prosecutor's Office said.
Pomianek and coworker Michael Dorazo Jr., 30, were accused of luring Steven Brodie Jr., an African American colleague, into a caged area 17 feet off the ground, used for storing equipment in the township public works building on Erial Road. Brodie was padlocked in the cage for three to 10 minutes in the middle of a workday in April 2007 in front of several coworkers, authorities said.
Brodie, now 31, endured racially charged taunts from the defendants that compared him to a monkey, authorities said. Brodie could not be reached for comment.
Pomianek was suspended without pay in June 2008, his attorney, Michael Daily Jr., said.
Daily said Pomianek and other employees were tossing a football and horsing around in the cage that day. About 30 minutes before the incident, the employees who were in the cage with Pomianek had tried to keep him in the cage, Daily said. He pointed out that Pomianek was found not guilty of false imprisonment and purposeful harassment on account of race.
"I'm glad that the jury found that my client didn't intend to be a racist, but because the victim perceived him to be racist, he was found guilty of a bias crime," Daily said.
Pomianek was found guilty of making racially charged statements to Brodie. According to testimony, Pomianek used a racial slur in describing another African American coworker, authorities said.
Assistant Prosecutor Nevan Soumilas presented evidence that Pomianek's actions went beyond a prank or horseplay, authorities said. He targeted Brodie because of his race, which was central to Pomianek's taunts, officials said. Pomianek is to be sentenced Jan. 21.
Dorazo, of Gloucester Township, awaits trial on charges similar to those of which Pomianek was convicted, authorities said. He also faces a charge of false imprisonment.