Department of Justice reaches settlement in discrimination, retaliation lawsuit against SEPTA

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) — The Justice Department announced Monday that it has reached an agreement with SEPTA, which has settled a complaint about allegations of racial discrimination and retaliation by the former police chief and a supervisor.

The transit agency is now paying nearly $500,000 in damages to three police officers whose civil rights were violated at work.

“All transit officers deserve to go to work every day without fear of harassment and retaliation from their superiors and colleagues,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke. “This settlement sends a clear message that the department stands ready to protect employees who face racial harassment and a hostile work environment, particularly in law enforcement agencies dedicated to public service.”

The complaint alleges that Supervisor Bryan McCauley subjected the officers, who were part of a special investigation unit, to racial and religious harassment. It is also alleged that former Chief Thomas Nestle threatened them for resisting the harassment.

The 13-page document is littered with allegations of racial abuse and intimidation by McCauley.

“In April 2019, McCauley printed an Instagram story that used the “N” word multiple times. He read the post to Randolph and D’Ettorre several times, hung it over his desk and explained that this was the ‘squad’s mission statement,'” the document reads.

There are also allegations of religious discrimination.

“Several times, McCauley played ISIS beheading videos, showed them to Randolph, and implied that Muslims were terrorists,” the document said.

There were also alleged incidents of physical violence. The three officers allege McCauley once said, “If there was ever an active gunman situation, I would shoot you in the head and make it look like the gunman did it.”

The police chief and supervisor named in the complaint are no longer employed by SEPTA.

In response to the document, SEPTA released this statement:

“We know there are ways to improve our process in dealing with this type of situation and we are already implementing actions outlined in the Consent Decree with the DOJ.”

SEPTA is now required to implement anti-discrimination and retaliation policies and provide training for its employees.

Copyright © 2022 WPVI-TV. All rights reserved. Department of Justice reaches settlement in discrimination, retaliation lawsuit against SEPTA

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