Fired New York Police Review Board Head Sues, Alleging Stop-And-Frisk Coverup

NEW YORK, NY  - JULY 17:  Richard Emery, one of four personnel appointments announced by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio,
NEW YORK, NY - JULY 17: Richard Emery, one of four personnel appointments announced by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, looks on at a news conference at City Hall on July 17, 2014 in New York City. Appointees are: Carmen Beauchamp Ciparick and Barry Cozier as chairperson and vice chairperson of the mayor's advisory committee on the Judiciary; Rick Chandler as Department of Buildings commissioner; and Emery as chairperson of the Civilian Complaint Review Board. (Photo by Christopher Gregory/Getty Images)

NEW YORK -- The former executive director of the city Civilian Complaint Review Board sued the police watchdog agency hours after she was fired on Monday, alleging she was ousted in retaliation for reporting sexual harassment by a board member and for speaking out against a "blatant attempt to protect the NYPD."

Tracy Catapano-Fox contends in the federal lawsuit that Richard Emery, appointed in July chairman of the agency charged with investigating police misconduct, has instead privately colluded with police. In public, Emery has aggressively sought to document the NYPD's use of banned chokeholds of the sort that killed Staten Island man Eric Garner.

The lawsuit claims that Emery engaged in a "blatant attempt to protect the NYPD" by refusing to allow Catapano-Fox to produce a report critical of police stop-and-frisk tactics. Emery also refused to speak out against the NYPD's practice of dropping punishment for officers whose misconduct during police stops has been substantiated by the review board.

Catapano-Fox's lawsuit claims Emery was too aggressive against the NYPD in at least once instance -- by trying to rush the chokehold report using flawed statistics and then, the suit implies, leaking a draft version to the New York Post that was highly critical of the police department.

Catapano-Fox says she was fired in part for reporting sexual harassment by board member Mitchell Taylor, a church bishop.

Spokespersons for the review board and for the city law department declined to comment. Taylor did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Board members Rudolph Landin, James Donlon and Alphonzo Grant all have resigned since a meeting Thursday on Catapano-Fox's employment status.

When asked by HuffPost whether Catapano-Fox's departure from the agency was related to his resignation, Donlon said, "That's part of it, but there were several different reasons."



Eric Garner Chokehold Case