Five Former Ocean Beach Police Officers Terminated for Breaching Blue Wall of Silence, Complaint Alleges

Former Officers Accuse Ocean Beach of Retaliating Against Them for

Complaints About a Regime of Corruption and Police Brutality

Lawsuit Seeking $325 Million in Damages

Press Conference Today March 22, 2007 at 2:00 PM at Thompson Wigdor & Gilly

LLP



Mar 22, 2007, 01:00 ET from Thompson Wigdor & Gilly LLP

    NEW YORK, March 22 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Yesterday afternoon, five
 former police officers from the Incorporated Village of Ocean Beach, a
 seaside resort located on Fire Island known for its tranquil days and wild
 nights, filed a federal lawsuit in the Eastern District of New York
 accusing Ocean Beach, the Ocean Beach Police Department, Acting Deputy
 Chief George Hesse and others of unlawfully terminating their employment in
 response to their opposition to, and refusal to participate in, a regime
 marred by corruption, scandal and police brutality.
     The five officers, Edward Carter, Frank Fiorillo, Kevin Lamm, Joseph
 Nofi and Thomas Snyder, comprise approximately 35 years of dedicated police
 service to the Village of Ocean Beach. Each of these officers has an
 unblemished police record. According to the 47-page complaint, these
 officers were summarily terminated after they breached the "Blue Wall of
 Silence" by, among other things, refusing to amend official documents and
 cooperate in the cover- up of a violent incident of police brutality
 against three civilians, as well as for complaining about Acting Deputy
 Chief Hesse's selective enforcement of the laws. The complaint also alleges
 that the officers repeatedly complained about:
     -- Other officers serving alcohol to an alleged domestic abuse victim in
        an effort to convince her not to file a domestic incident report
        against the abuser who was a personal friend of Hesse and other
        officers.
     -- On-duty officers drinking alcohol both inside and outside of the police
        station, while patrolling in police vehicles and at the local bars.
        The complaint alleges Hesse and other officers drank beer that was
        confiscated from people on the beach, and even would tell the officers
        what brands of beer to confiscate.
     -- The hiring of officers who were not duly certified by Suffolk County
        Civil Service, and who obtained firearms certification even though
        they did not have appropriate pistol permits or proper training by the
        Suffolk County Police Academy or any other accredited police training
        agency in Suffolk County.
     -- The police department and Village being left dangerously short of
        personnel when the officers were assigned to chauffer Acting Deputy
        Chief Hesse to and from the residence of a known drug dealer, who is a
        personal friend of his, as well as to other locations inside and out of
        the Village for Hesse to engage in sexual escapades.  When Hesse would
        return from such locations, he would brag about sleeping with multiple
        women, including making such comments as "She just had the German
        Sausage."
     -- Acting Deputy Chief Hesse ordering the officers not to issue summons to
        local bars whose bartenders delivered alcohol to Hesse and his friends
        at the police station, and to stay away from certain locations where
        known drug dealers conducted business and under-aged drinking was
        rampant.
     -- Acting Deputy Chief Hesse destroying summons that the officers issued
        to his friends and acquaintances in the Village.
     -- The failure to properly secure and inventory certain illicit drugs and
        related drug paraphernalia that were duly confiscated and improperly
        stored in Hesse's desk drawer and on a shelf above his desk.
     "These five officers have shown extraordinary courage in coming
 forward. Their rights will be fully vindicated at trial," said Douglas H.
 Wigdor, their attorney who has recent trial verdicts in Federal Court
 against Wal-Mart for $7.5 million and the Source Magazine and its former
 owners for nearly $8 million. "As a former prosecutor here in Suffolk
 County, I was shocked to learn that such a pattern of corruption, police
 brutality and unlawfulness can exist within the police department in Ocean
 Beach, a resort town known for family vacations."
     The officers also allege that their repeated complaints were ignored,
 without any regard for any resulting threat to public safety and the
 officers' own safety. Rather than take appropriate action in response to
 these complaints, the officers were called "rats," and repeatedly berated,
 mocked and condemned in front of alleged perpetrators, civilians and other
 officers. "I served the people of the Village and tried to protect its
 residents and visitors for six years. Although I loved working in the
 Village, every time I tried to help clean up the department I was ridiculed
 by Hesse and his cronies, and eventually fired for doing my job as a police
 officer," stated Officer Nofi.
     "We graduated from the Suffolk County Police Academy and became police
 officers to serve and protect the people of Ocean Beach. Although we did
 that to the best of our ability, we were prevented from upholding the law
 by George Hesse and his handpicked clique of uncertified police officers,"
 said Officer Lamm. "There were intoxicated officers carrying loaded
 firearms near families who brought their kids to Ocean Beach for summer
 vacation. We could not put up with it," added Officer Carter.
     Commenting on the decision not to engage in the cover-up of a vicious
 incident of police brutality, Officer Snyder stated, "We decided to take a
 stand against the corrupt regime headed by George Hesse because the
 visitors and residents of Ocean Beach deserve to know that their lives are
 being compromised each and every day."
     According to the complaint, even after Acting Deputy Chief Hesse
 unlawfully terminated the officers' employment, he has engaged in a
 concerted effort to defame the officers and interfere with their attempts
 to achieve new employment in law enforcement by maliciously providing false
 information to prospective employers. "After four dedicated years of
 service to the Village, I believe and fear my law enforcement career might
 be over because of false information being provided to other Departments by
 Hesse," stated Officer Fiorillo.
     About Thompson Wigdor & Gilly:
     Thompson Wigdor & Gilly LLP http://twglawyers.com is a law firm
 specializing in high-profile, complex litigation and investigations as well
 as counseling clients in a wide array of substantive legal areas, including
 employment law, criminal law, sports and entertainment law, labor relations
 and civil rights. They can be reached at 212.239.9292 or
 info@twglawyers.com.
     CONTACT:
     Douglas H. Wigdor
     350 Fifth Avenue - Suite 5720
     New York, N.Y. 10118
     212.239.9292
     dwigdor@twglawyers.com
 
 

SOURCE Thompson Wigdor & Gilly LLP
    NEW YORK, March 22 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Yesterday afternoon, five
 former police officers from the Incorporated Village of Ocean Beach, a
 seaside resort located on Fire Island known for its tranquil days and wild
 nights, filed a federal lawsuit in the Eastern District of New York
 accusing Ocean Beach, the Ocean Beach Police Department, Acting Deputy
 Chief George Hesse and others of unlawfully terminating their employment in
 response to their opposition to, and refusal to participate in, a regime
 marred by corruption, scandal and police brutality.
     The five officers, Edward Carter, Frank Fiorillo, Kevin Lamm, Joseph
 Nofi and Thomas Snyder, comprise approximately 35 years of dedicated police
 service to the Village of Ocean Beach. Each of these officers has an
 unblemished police record. According to the 47-page complaint, these
 officers were summarily terminated after they breached the "Blue Wall of
 Silence" by, among other things, refusing to amend official documents and
 cooperate in the cover- up of a violent incident of police brutality
 against three civilians, as well as for complaining about Acting Deputy
 Chief Hesse's selective enforcement of the laws. The complaint also alleges
 that the officers repeatedly complained about:
     -- Other officers serving alcohol to an alleged domestic abuse victim in
        an effort to convince her not to file a domestic incident report
        against the abuser who was a personal friend of Hesse and other
        officers.
     -- On-duty officers drinking alcohol both inside and outside of the police
        station, while patrolling in police vehicles and at the local bars.
        The complaint alleges Hesse and other officers drank beer that was
        confiscated from people on the beach, and even would tell the officers
        what brands of beer to confiscate.
     -- The hiring of officers who were not duly certified by Suffolk County
        Civil Service, and who obtained firearms certification even though
        they did not have appropriate pistol permits or proper training by the
        Suffolk County Police Academy or any other accredited police training
        agency in Suffolk County.
     -- The police department and Village being left dangerously short of
        personnel when the officers were assigned to chauffer Acting Deputy
        Chief Hesse to and from the residence of a known drug dealer, who is a
        personal friend of his, as well as to other locations inside and out of
        the Village for Hesse to engage in sexual escapades.  When Hesse would
        return from such locations, he would brag about sleeping with multiple
        women, including making such comments as "She just had the German
        Sausage."
     -- Acting Deputy Chief Hesse ordering the officers not to issue summons to
        local bars whose bartenders delivered alcohol to Hesse and his friends
        at the police station, and to stay away from certain locations where
        known drug dealers conducted business and under-aged drinking was
        rampant.
     -- Acting Deputy Chief Hesse destroying summons that the officers issued
        to his friends and acquaintances in the Village.
     -- The failure to properly secure and inventory certain illicit drugs and
        related drug paraphernalia that were duly confiscated and improperly
        stored in Hesse's desk drawer and on a shelf above his desk.
     "These five officers have shown extraordinary courage in coming
 forward. Their rights will be fully vindicated at trial," said Douglas H.
 Wigdor, their attorney who has recent trial verdicts in Federal Court
 against Wal-Mart for $7.5 million and the Source Magazine and its former
 owners for nearly $8 million. "As a former prosecutor here in Suffolk
 County, I was shocked to learn that such a pattern of corruption, police
 brutality and unlawfulness can exist within the police department in Ocean
 Beach, a resort town known for family vacations."
     The officers also allege that their repeated complaints were ignored,
 without any regard for any resulting threat to public safety and the
 officers' own safety. Rather than take appropriate action in response to
 these complaints, the officers were called "rats," and repeatedly berated,
 mocked and condemned in front of alleged perpetrators, civilians and other
 officers. "I served the people of the Village and tried to protect its
 residents and visitors for six years. Although I loved working in the
 Village, every time I tried to help clean up the department I was ridiculed
 by Hesse and his cronies, and eventually fired for doing my job as a police
 officer," stated Officer Nofi.
     "We graduated from the Suffolk County Police Academy and became police
 officers to serve and protect the people of Ocean Beach. Although we did
 that to the best of our ability, we were prevented from upholding the law
 by George Hesse and his handpicked clique of uncertified police officers,"
 said Officer Lamm. "There were intoxicated officers carrying loaded
 firearms near families who brought their kids to Ocean Beach for summer
 vacation. We could not put up with it," added Officer Carter.
     Commenting on the decision not to engage in the cover-up of a vicious
 incident of police brutality, Officer Snyder stated, "We decided to take a
 stand against the corrupt regime headed by George Hesse because the
 visitors and residents of Ocean Beach deserve to know that their lives are
 being compromised each and every day."
     According to the complaint, even after Acting Deputy Chief Hesse
 unlawfully terminated the officers' employment, he has engaged in a
 concerted effort to defame the officers and interfere with their attempts
 to achieve new employment in law enforcement by maliciously providing false
 information to prospective employers. "After four dedicated years of
 service to the Village, I believe and fear my law enforcement career might
 be over because of false information being provided to other Departments by
 Hesse," stated Officer Fiorillo.
     About Thompson Wigdor & Gilly:
     Thompson Wigdor & Gilly LLP http://twglawyers.com is a law firm
 specializing in high-profile, complex litigation and investigations as well
 as counseling clients in a wide array of substantive legal areas, including
 employment law, criminal law, sports and entertainment law, labor relations
 and civil rights. They can be reached at 212.239.9292 or
 info@twglawyers.com.
     CONTACT:
     Douglas H. Wigdor
     350 Fifth Avenue - Suite 5720
     New York, N.Y. 10118
     212.239.9292
     dwigdor@twglawyers.com
 
 SOURCE Thompson Wigdor & Gilly LLP