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ARTICLE ID 195866

$________ JUDGMENT – Civil Rights – Free speech – Police officer sues in dispute over alleged uniform monopoly – Alleged violation of First Amendment rights.

U.S. District Court, Middle, Pennsylvania

In this civil rights action, a police officer accused his department of harassment and retaliation for his exercising of his first amendment rights. The suit was resolved with a settlement.

The plaintiff, Sgt. Joseph H. is a police officer with the Scranton Police Department. On February 8, ________, the plaintiff spoke at a public meeting about "The monopoly on law enforcement uniform and equipment purchases", in reference to law enforcement personnel being mandated to only wear uniforms from Starr Uniform. The meeting was televised, and also reported in the Scranton Times. The plaintiff’s parents are owners of Roll Call, LLC, a competitor with Starr Uniform. Prior to the meeting, plaintiff was a firearms instructor for the defendant, City of Scranton, and made regular use of a range owned by Starr Uniform. After speaking at the meeting, he was removed from his position and was not allowed to train at the target shooting range with his coworkers at Starr Uniform. He was further required to qualify his firearm at a different location due to the ban, and was subject to harassment, humiliation, mental anxiety, stress and sleeplessness.

The plaintiff filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania against the City of Scranton, accusing the defendant of retaliating against him for engaging in his First Amendment protected speech. The plaintiff sought non-economic damages.The matter was resolved with a judgment by the court in the plaintiff’s favor. The jury awarded $________, plus attorney’s fees.

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