FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, February 21, 2018
PLEASE CONTACT: Brian E. Downey, GOAL President
(917) 371-7757 • email@example.com
Christopher Weston, Bergen County Police PBA Local 49 President
(201) 835-5072 • BCP49fight@yahoo.com
GOAL NY & BERGEN COUNTY PBA LOCAL 49 ANNOUNCE
RALLY FOR POLICE OFFICER ANDREW KARA
New York, New York – February 21, 2018. The Gay Officers Action League (GOAL) and the Bergen County Police PBA Local 49 will join with elected officials, community leaders and activists on the steps of the Bergen County Courthouse (10 Main Street, Hackensack, NJ) at 11:30 am on Tuesday, February 27th to Stand Up for Police Officer Andrew Kara.
Andrew Kara was the victim of sustained harassment and discrimination because of his sexual orientation when he worked for the Bergen County Sheriff’s Office. For years, Kara dealt with insults and slurs about his sexuality. Messages openly sent to him and his coworkers that encouraged fellow officers to avoid him because he was a gay man. Comments during training from fellow officers that he should not expect support when engaging in enforcement actions. And when he reported this conduct to his superiors, he received no relief or support.
Neither the Bergen County Prosecutor nor the Bergen County Sheriff, Michael Saudino, ever once extended any effort to determine what happened to Kara and what should be done to provide him relief. That prosecutor, Gurbir Grewal, now sits in Trenton as the New Jersey Attorney General, and still has yet to investigate what happened at the Sheriff’s Office.
We demand that the Governor, the Attorney General and Legislature of New Jersey investigate what went wrong when Andrew Kara reported this behavior to his superiors and take appropriate action to make Kara whole. We have no faith in the Bergen County Prosecutor, the Bergen County Sheriff or their offices to conduct an investigation in a fair and impartial manner. And we have deep concerns that neither office will protect the interests of the LGBTQ community or other marginalized communities in Bergen County.
Andrew Kara’s service extends well beyond Bergen County. For nine years, Kara served his country as a United States Marine in active duty and reservist roles. He is a veteran of the War in Afghanistan. He returned from his military service and joined the Bergen County Police Agency to continue serving at home, in his community. What he found at home was a hostile work environment followed by the loss of his job, and deafening silence from the Sheriff’s Office and the county prosecutor.
“I have heard the Governor use very strong language voicing concerns about the current administration in the White House especially regarding his selection of this Attorney General. Yet, the Governor and Attorney General have been silent with regard to the unlawful treatment suffered by Andrew Kara. We remain optimistic that the Governor and Attorney General can find a tenth of the courage that Andrew has exhibited during his life of service, and work to make this situation right immediately,” says Brian Downey, President of GOAL.
“The members of PBA Local 49 are once again disheartened by the actions of the Bergen County Sheriff, Michael Saudino,” states Christopher Weston, Bergen County Police PBA Local 49 President. “He has allowed despicable behavior to take place to one of his own officers. As if that wasn’t bad enough, he and the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office have looked the other way once it was reported despite all the training and policies against this type of behavior in the workplace. No one should have to go through what Andrew has had to endure while working at the Bergen County’s Sheriff’s Office.”
We invite anyone who shares our concerns to join us on Tuesday, February 27 to rally for Andrew Kara
WHAT: Stand Up for Police Officer Andrew Kara
WHERE: Bergen County Courthouse (10 Main Street, Hackensack, NJ)
WHEN: Tuesday, February 27 @ 11:30 AM
For any questions on the event or Police Officer Kara’s situation, you can contact GOAL at firstname.lastname@example.org or the Bergen County Police PBA at BCP49Fight@yahoo.com.
GAY OFFICERS ACTION LEAGUE, INC.