We find it curious indeed that Sergeant Patrick McNally filed his Charge of Discrimination with the Florida Commission on Human Rights and EEOC on August 22, 2016.
McNally, who is white, complained that he was passed over for promotion to commander in favor of a Haitian, a Hispanic and an African-American. He alleged that the three other Sergeants, Emile Hollant, Rafael Estrugo and Angelo Brinson, were chosen over him because the “police department has a history of discrimination against whites in promotions.” He also claimed that “none of the positions were posted.”
Here’s the thing.
If Sergeant McNally was convinced that he was more qualified than his colleagues to be a commander, why did he wait two months to complain that Emile Hollant, Rafael Estrugo and Angelo Brinson were appointed by then-Chief Gary Eugene? The Chief made his promotions and appointments on June 24, 2016.
McNally said nothing.
Chief Eugene’s new Command Staff, along with two newly promoted Sergeants, were all sworn in at a ceremony held July 12, 2016.
Still, McNally said nothing.
The ill-fated shooting of an unarmed black man by Officer Jonathan Aledda on July 19, 2016 changed everything.
The Illuminati Hit Squad
As we’ve mentioned countless times, Assistant Chief Larry Juriga quickly seized the opportunity to take advantage of the situation. He conspired with his colleagues and city officials to blame and frame Commander Emile Hollant for the shooting.
Juriga even defied Chief Eugene’s orders and complained to the State Attorney’s Office that Hollant obstructed his investigation of the shooting. Consequently, City Manager Larry Spring decided to suspend Commander Hollant without pay.
Despite Team Juriga’s continuous hounding of the State Attorney’s Office, Commander Hollant was cleared of all wrongdoing on August 2, 2016 in a Close-Out Memo issued by Chief Assistant State Attorney Jose Arrojo and Deputy Chief Assistant Howard Rosen, who stated, “We conclude that Commander Hollant did not lie.’
This “acquittal” of Hollant only incited Juriga’s mission to take control of the police department – by any means necessary.
Shortly after Commander Hollant’s pay was restored, Sergeant McNally filed his discrimination complaint.
Coincidence? We think not.
When Chief Gary Eugene was fired, Juriga immediately applied for the job. The only thing standing in Larry Juriga’s way was the nearly quarter million dollar settlement he squeezed from the City of North Miami in 2015 after he filed a discrimination complaint, claiming he was twice passed over for promotion to Chief because he was white.
Once the position opened up again, Juriga pulled out all the stops to get what he wanted. He probably figured it would improve his chances if another white officer also complained about the department’s alleged “history of discrimination against whites in promotions.”
Sixteen months after Sergeant Patrick McNally filed his complaint with the EEOC, he filed a discrimination lawsuit against the City of North Miami on December 5, 2017. While North Miami has yet to respond to his complaint, if City Attorney Jeff Cazeau’s response to McNally’s original complaint is any indication, its defense of the lawsuit should be a piece of cake.
Here comes the BOOM!
The Position Statement prepared and signed by Jeff P. H. Cazeau, Esq. expertly rebuts Sergeant McNally’s accusation that he was “passed over for promotion to commander” because he’s white.
For one thing, as Mr. Cazeau noted, the department’s executive command staff positions, including that of Commander, are not promotions, but appointments, and “are exempt from union status and the City’s Civil Service rules.” As such, these positions “are filled at the discretion of the Chief of Police who may consider employees of the Department as well as candidates from outside law enforcement agencies.”
In other words, while NMPD officers may be promoted to Sergeant based on merit, the Chief has the sole power to make command staff appointments to anyone he chooses without having to justify his decision. Obviously, he would want to fill those positions with qualified individuals who share his vision and who also happen to be his most trusted allies.
As Mr. Cazeau so astutely explained, “It is customary for newly sworn police chiefs to make changes to their executive command staff. In this instance, Chief Eugene was recently appointed police chief and as a result, made changes to the structure of the executive leadership of the Department as well as several promotional appointments due to the reorganization.”
Mr. Cazeau also took issue with McNally’s claim that Hollant, Estrugo and Brinson were “less qualified for the position of police commander.” The City Attorney responded that while McNally had the same number of years of “police sergeant experience” as the three who were chosen, he did not have the “unique skill sets and abilities due to their various assignments and roles within the Department.”
Estrugo, for example, had experience in patrol, investigations, internal affairs and public information. Hollant had served in the patrol, COPS, investigations and special victims units, and was also fluent in French, Spanish and Creole. Brinson had experience in patrol, investigations, SWAT, Honor Guard, and was “the City’s Emergency Manager since 2015.”
Patrick McNally, however, “spent the large majority of his career in the traffic and patrol unit.”
Patrick McNally also complained to the EEOC that “Chief Eugene stated in a U-Tube [sic] interview that he wanted the department to ‘mirror his community,’ which is primarily Haitian and Hispanic.”
Apparently, this “highly qualified” Sergeant never got the memo that (as we’ve already mentioned a time or two) the U.S Department of Justice/Equal Opportunity Commission’s Advancing Diversity in Law Enforcement launched an “initiative designed to help our nation’s law enforcement agencies recruit, hire, retain, and promote officers that reflect the diversity of the communities they serve.”
In fact, as we’ve also already noted, an August 28, 2015 article in Governing.com entitled, Where Police Don’t Mirror Communities and Why It Matters, reported that “[a]lthough no national standards regarding levels of diversity exist, the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies does require accredited agencies to adopt specific steps ensuring their workforce mirrors that of their communities.”
Not only are police departments supposed to “mirror their communities,” but it’s self-evident that Chief Gary Eugene was taking his cue from CALEA, the national Gold Standard in Public Safety Accreditation.
The fact that Sergeant McNally complained about Chief Eugene, specifically his goal to model his police department in accordance with the “established set of professional standards” endorsed by CALEA, only reflects McNally’s lack of knowledge about law enforcement accreditation.
Then again, considering the North Miami Police Department’s lack of accreditation, thanks in part to the failure of Assistant Chief Larry Juriga, this comes as no surprise.
City Attorney Jeff Cazeau, however, is completely aware of the need for police departments to “mirror their communities.”
In his Position Statement, Mr. Cazeau also noted that “the EEOC in conjunction with the DOJ have endorsed the philosophy of having a diverse law enforcement agency which reflects the community as reflected in the recent publication entitled ‘Diversity in Law Enforcement: A Literature Review.'”
Mr. Cazeau further explained that the demographics of the 60,000 residents of North Miami, the sixth largest municipality in Miami-Dade County, are comprised of “59% Black, 11% White, 28% Hispanic and 2% Asian.”
Accordingly, the City Attorney expounded, “It should be viewed as a positive sentiment that the two largest demographic groups in this community were reflected in the most recent round of police promotions (3 blacks and 1 hispanic).”
Furthermore, Mr. Cazeau refutes McNally’s “allegation that whites within the department are being discriminated against in order to facilitate the promotion of minority candidates within the Department as three (3) whites were also promoted at the same time as the minority candidates in the most recent round of promotions.”
It’s just that Patrick McNally wasn’t one of them.
Too bad, so sad.
As an aside, we’d also point out that since Mr. Cazeau wrote his Position Statement in 2016, more promotions included 3 whites and 2 blacks … while 2 Haitians were fired.
And, finally, City Attorney Jeff Cazeau added for good measure, “Further, in looking at the make-up of the overall Executive Command Staff subsequent to the promotions (5 whites, 4 blacks, 4 hispanics) the leadership of the Department is diverse and equally representative of all races and also serves as an excellent reflection of the community it serves. This is a proud achievement for the City because in today’s world of law enforcement so many police departments have severe mismatches between the composition of the police force and the demographics of the community at large.”
BOOM! BOOM! AND BOOM!
Jef Cazeau’s response to Sergeant McNally’s groundless complaint was right on the money.
Not only did the City Attorney point out why the police department should “mirror the community” it serves, but he also defended the personnel decisions that Chief Gary Eugene made for his Command Staff.
In an ironic turn of events, however, the Chief was eventually fired for the same thing he was praised for only eight months earlier.
On June 15, 2017, City Manager Larry Spring gave Chief Gary Eugene 21 days to either resign or be fired.
Six days later at a Community Council Meeting, Spring publicly trashed Chief Eugene in a Memo he distributed to the audience, in which he claimed one of the reasons he fired Eugene was due to his “hiring decisions based on outside influencers.”
Is it possible that city officials were not aware of Jeff Cazeau’s Position Statement, in which he praised Gary Eugene’s police promotions, claiming they were “a proud achievement for the City?“
Clearly, the City of North Miami now finds itself in a predicament.
In defending the dueling lawsuits of Sergeant Patrick McNally and Chief Gary Eugene, lawyers for the city will have to make conflicting arguments.
They will either have to take the position that Gary Eugene was justified in his decision to appoint three minority Sergeants to Commander over Patrick McNally…
Or they will have to defend Larry Spring’s decision to fire Eugene for making “promotions based not on merit but on … outside influences,” as stated in his July 7, 2017 termination letter to the Chief.
This should be interesting.