Syracuse Common Council Votes to Issue Bonds to Police Officer

Councilor-At-Large Denno Votes No

By Nick Cardona

Originally reported Feb. 27 2012

Syracuse (NCC News) – The Syracuse Common Council voted 7-1 Monday to issue up to $605,000 in bonds to pay a city police officer who won her case involving gender discrimination and sexual harassment against the city police department. Majority Leader Lance Denno, the only councilor to vote against the bond selling, said police who misbehave should be responsible for paying for it. He argued that the burden should not be on the taxpayers.

Councilor-At-Large Lance Denno courtesy of syracuse.ny.us

“We are not holding the police department collectively, or any individual member of the department, in any way responsible,” Denno said. “And I don’t believe that’s something that should be funded by billing it to our kids.”

Katherine Lee sued the police department in 2006 claiming she was subjected to sexual harassment by male officers. Lee also stated the she was unfairly withheld from work because of a perceived disability. This came in 2000 when a doctor said Lee suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder from an assault by her ex-boyfriend who was also a police officer.

Lee is one of three female officers who won discrimination cases against the police department. Sgt. Therese Lore and Community Service Officer Sonia Dotson both won their cases but the courts are still finalizing their judgments.

Councilor-At-Large Kathleen Joy

Councilor-At-Large Kathleen Joy said these acts took place during a previous administration and since Chief Fowler took over, there have been no acts of discrimination.

“I think we’re paying for bad acts from a long time ago, Joy said.”

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