Bogota police officer wins discrimination lawsuit after getting fired

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BOGOTA, New Jersey (PIX11) -- A Bogota police officer has gotten her job back after being brought up on charges of not aiding an officer and suspended and subsequently fired three years ago.  She said she was harassed and discriminated against and had complained to her chief, but nothing was done.  Then, when she stopped a case of police brutality she was brought up on charges and fired.  She’s always insisted her real transgression was crossing the blue line.

The shocking police beat-down was captured on dashboard cam in from Officer Regina Tasca’s Bogota PD cruiser.  Two officers called by Bogota parents to assist their emotionally-disturbed son into an ambulance instead tackled the man, and punched him in the head.  The officers at the time even threatened the victim’s father, captured on tape.  “As soon as I get off him I’ll get to you,” he threatened the father of Kyle Sharpe.

Kyle’s mother Tara, a former Bogota City Council member recounted that day.  “In that moment, my son was jumped and punched, had she not been there to protect him, I can say with certainty things would have turned out quite differently.”

Tasca, the only female, and gay officer on the Bogota force to this day, had previously complained to her bosses she was being harassed by officers.

During the departmental hearing to fire Officer Tasca, the attacking officer from neighboring Ridgefield Park Police, Sgt. Joseph Rella, admitted to covering up punching the victim, lying about his training in dealing with emotionally disturbed person, and violating protocol with his tackle and punch.  He was not brought up on any charges at the time, and the campaign to smear Tasca continued. Tasca’s own boss, Captain Jim Sepp, admitted he lied in his report to fire her by failing to interview witnesses, twisting quotes from Tasca and then destroying his notes used to make his report.

At the time, Officer Tasca remained committed to her job.  “Being fired means I did something wrong. I know I didn't.  I protected that kid. I did what I’m supposed to do.”