About three years ago I reported on the case of Regina Tasca, a police officer in Bogota, New Jersey who was fired after pulling two fellow officers off a mentally ill teenager they were savagely beating. They were called to help get the kid to a hospital, he hadn’t done anything wrong. A court has now ordered that Tasca be reinstated with all back pay due:
A Superior Court judge has invalidated the firing of the borough’s first female police officer and ruled the town must reinstate her and give her back pay.
In an 18-page ruling handed down Thursday, Judge Rachelle Harz, presiding in Superior Court in Hackensack, concluded that then-mayor Pat McHale and then-councilman Tito Jackson had conflicts of interest and should have recused themselves from all disciplinary matters and proceedings concerning the termination of Regina Tasca in 2012.
“Their failure to do so tainted the entire disciplinary proceeding, compelling an invalidation of all disciplinary action taken against Tasca as a matter of law,’’ Harz wrote in her decision.
Unfortunately, that’s the wrong basis for such a ruling. Would the situation be any more appalling if there hadn’t been a conflict of interest? Of course not. Tasca should never have been put through this in the first place. The two officers (from another department) who beat the hell out of the kid they were called to protect and get to a hospital should have been fired (they weren’t, of course). Tasca should get a commendation for doing her job.