Former Female NYPD Officer Fired Over Posting A Throwback Thursday Picture on Instagram of Her And Former Boyfriend Danny Perez, who later went to prison for nonfatal stabbing.
This one should be a lesson to all you young people and everyone who post all their business of social media. Ms. Erica Rivera, a Puerto Rican female former New York City Police Officer who posted an old picture of her and her former boyfriend Danny Perez who was later convicted for a nonfatal stabbing, was later fired for associating with a known criminal.
According to a statement released by her attorneys, Eric Sanders, Esq., of The Sanders Firm, P.C. posted on the firms website, Rivera ‘alleges on August 12, 2012, she was assigned to the 52nd Precinct, while she was off-duty her ex-boyfriend Danny Perez’s girlfriend Ms. Olivia Perez walked into the precinct to complain about an Instagram picture that was posted with her and Danny Perez together before she was appointed as a police officer with the Police Department City of New York. Ms. Olivia Perez had a conversation with Inspector Joseph Dowling (Caucasian Male). Inspector Dowling ordered her into work early to discuss the Instagram picture.’
Rivera is filing a $5 million dollar lawsuit against the NYPD on claims she was illegally fired.
Erica Rivera, 27, was fired from the force last August for dating a man with a criminal record after a two-year investigation by the Internal Affairs Bureau that included questioning her about sex partners and secretly trailing her while off-duty, The New York Daily News reported.
“They treated me like a perp and took the job I loved away from me,” said Rivera. After the photo was taken, Perez went to prison for a nonfatal stabbing, Rivera told the Daily News.
Rivera objected when the commander asked her if she was “having sex” with Perez. A month later, under questioning by IAB, she denied any intimate relationship with the ex-boyfriend. Just when it appeared this was all behind her a new allegation reached IAB about another boyfriend with a sketchy background, in Spring of 2013.
A detective with the Blooming Grove Police Department in Orange County, where Rivera resided, allegedly reported to the NYPD that she was associating with a known criminal named George Mann, the legal papers say. Rivera was later told that Mann had been arrested for failing to pay child support, The Daily News reported.
To add insult to injury, in addition to her relationship status, evidence of her taking her cousin, a convicted felon, to a train station as well as parking too close to a fire hydrant near her grandmother’s building was used as part of the case to fire her.
Perez had no criminal record when the two dated, at the time the photo was taken, but later spent time in for a non-fatal shooting. A woman who claimed to be Perez current girlfriend Ms. Olivia Perez, went to the 52nd Precinct station house in the Bronx, where Rivera worked and complained about a photo of her boyfriend, Danny Perez, and Rivera posted on the former officer’s Instagram account.
According to the Sanders Firm statement: Ms. Rivera alleges once she arrived at the precinct, Inspector Dowling told her Danny Perez had an arrest record and wanted to know if she was ‘having sex with him.’ She explained this picture was taken long before she was appointed as a police officer, she has not had any contact with him in three years and Ms. Olivia Perez is just trying to jeopardize her job. Ms. Rivera further expressed that Inspector Dowling had no right asking her such personal questions. When PBA Delegate Kevin Rodriguez came into work, Inspector Dowling asked her again if she had sex with Danny Perez. PBA Delegate Kevin Rodriguez told her not to answer that question because it was not narrowly tailored to any formal allegations of misconduct against her besides the fact she already denied having any contact with him in three years. Inspector Dowling threatened to call Danny Perez. Inspector Dowling then reported these baseless allegations to the Internal Affairs Bureau.
“Well, this case is part of a disturbing pattern of false criminal association cases used to harshly discipline and terminate officers of color, particularly female police officers. Quite frankly, the Department is taking an important ‘reasonable and necessary’ internal policy, that is ensuring its members of the service be free from influences of criminal conduct, intentionally misapplying it for the sole purpose of engaging in discriminatory conduct against officers of color, particularly female officers. More disturbing, managers in the Department continue to falsely believe officers ‘lose their civil rights’ by becoming police officers. Nothing can be further from the truth. Female officers deserve respect, unfortunately, if you are Latina, there is none. The culture in the Department which is a microcosm of society ‘falsely’ promotes Latinas are ‘Caliente’ therefore, are sexual objects to be explored. Ms. Rivera is a young, college educated woman who wanted to be a police officer her entire life. Now her dreams are destroyed based upon racial and gender stereotyping. Despite Ms. Rivera misfortune, she intends to fight what was done to her and to inspire others. As I have said time and time again, despite the change in the administration, the sad reality that there remains no viable meaningful mechanism available to protect the Civil Rights of NYPD employees from race and gender discrimination.” Eric Sanders says.
The NYPD prohibits cops from associating with people involved in criminal activity. An NYPD spokeswoman said cops are subject to termination if they are found to violate department policies while in their probationary period.
When she filed for unemployment payments, the NYPD objected and wrote a letter to the Labor Department stating that she was fired for associating with criminals, which increased the likelihood she would engage in criminal conduct, Rivera said.
Eric Sanders, Esq., of The Sanders Firm, P.C., filed Notice of Claim with the New York City’s Comptroller’s Office on November 1, 2014, Notice of Claim with the Town of Blooming Grove Clerk’s Office on November 1, 2014 and Charge of Discrimination with the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on November 3, 2014.