Officer Moise Flanagan has filed a lawsuit against the City of Hackensack and Police Director Michael Mordaga alleging retaliation and infliction of emotional distress.
In his complaint, Flanagan alleges that he has been retaliated against because of his cooperation in an investigation by the Bergen County Prosecutor's Office. This cooperation, Flanagan says assisted in securing convictions against three officers. One of said officers is Alberto Guitierrez who Flanagan says repeatedly attempted to influence Flanagan's testimony. It is reported, however, that when asked by the Prosecutor's Office what Guitierrez said, Flanagan testified it was to "tell the truth."
Offering a motivation for Mordaga's alleged retaliation, Flanagan states in his complaint that Police Director Mordaga "is the godfather to Officer Alberto Guitierrez's son, who is also a Police Officer in the Hackensack Police Department."
In Flanagan's suit, he alleges that as retaliation he has been placed on a walking post, had his shifts reassigned, was prevented from becoming active in youth programs, and was the subject of an Internal Affairs investigation for his attendance at another officer's barbecue.
In an apparent new trend of council members being named in lawsuits as adverse witnesses to the City of Hackensack, Councilman Sims allegedly told Flanagan, "Look, be careful man, you're being watched."
Flanagan seeks compensatory and punitive damages for his unspecified loss of income, emotional distress, and physical manifestations of pain and suffering.
Director Mordaga declined to comment as he had yet to receive and read the complaint. Officer Guitierrez likewise declined to comment on the substance of the complaint or on matters pertaining to the Police Department. Guitierrez did however deny that Mordaga is the godfather of any of his children. PBA President Frank Cavallo said, "The PBA is obligated to our members and I have not read the allegations made. It would be improper of the PBA to comment on pending litigation but the members of the PBA continue to work with the Police Director and serve the residents and business owners of Hackensack."
Due to departmental regulations, no officer wished to be quoted for this story. However, in discussions for this story, a number of stories and potential explanations for Flanagan's transfers, reassignments, and the Internal Affairs investigation did surface. With regard to the Internal Affairs investigation over Flanagan's attendance at a barbecue, it is alleged that Flanagan attended this barbecue after calling out sick for his shift. Flanagan's reassignments and transfers may have been a proximate result of Flanagan's allegedly totaling two police cars (in single car accidents), allegedly losing his police badge, or allegedly leaving his loaded service weapon in a bathroom. It is further alleged that this weapon was returned to the police desk by a civilian.