Police rally for former SWAT officer who says he was harassed for being gay

HACKENSACK, NJ — Dozens of police officers from New York and New Jersey rallied around a former SWAT officer who says he was constantly tormented for being gay when he was still on the job.

The officers came out in support of Andrew Kara, who was also a Marine, outside the Bergen County Courthouse Tuesday morning. Kara was laid off from his job with the Bergen County Sheriff’s Office last year.

Kara was often called "queer, homo, freak,” according to attorney Matthew Peluso. Some assumed he had AIDS.

“He was mocked for being girlish because of his sexual orientation," Peluso said.

Brian Downey, president of the Gay Officers Action League, was among those at the rally.

"People are out here because they are upset and rightfully so," he said.

In December, Kara joined a lawsuit along with more than a dozen other police officers claiming wrongdoing and workplace harassment in the Bergen County Sheriff’s Office.

The sheriff's office has not responded to PIX11’s request for comment on the lawsuit or Tuesday’s rally.