Richard Emery “takes every opportunity to trample on the rights of and retaliate against those who complain about his misogynistic views,” a new lawsuit claims.
Civilian Complaint Review Board chairman Richard Emery’s sharp tongue has gotten him in trouble again.
Emery is being sued by the CCRB’s executive director, Mina Malik, who claims she has been retaliated against after complaining that he referred to her and another female attorney as “pu—-s,” the Daily News has learned.
While Emery has had a distinguished career in civil rights work, the suit contends that he “takes every opportunity to trample on the rights of and retaliate against those who complain about his misogynistic views.”
In February, Emery apologized to the NYPD after The News reported that he dismissed criticism from the police unions as “squealing like a stuck pig.”
“New Yorkers deserve to have a chair of the CCRB who does not refer to police officers as pigs, female employees as pu—-s, and retaliate against those who complain,” said Malik’s lawyer Douglas Wigdor.
The suit, filed Tuesday in Manhattan Supreme Court, notes: “The use of the word ‘pig’ is one of the most offensive ways in which one can refer to a police officer, just as the use of the word ‘p—y‘ is one of the most offensive ways in which one can refer to a woman.”
Malik, a former Queens prosecutor and special counsel to Brooklyn DA Ken Thompson, is the second CCRB executive director to sue Emery. Her predecessor, Tracy Catapano-Fox, claims in her federal lawsuit that she was fired after complaining to Emery about sexual harassment by CCRB board member Bishop Mitchell Taylor.
Mina Malik brought the suit, claiming that she faced retaliation after complaining about Emery’s use of the word.
The police watchdog agency’s deputy executive director, Robia Charles, is also a plaintiff in the suit, alleging that she, too, was retaliated against for supporting Malik.
Emery allegedly uttered the slur about Malik and an unidentified CCRB lawyer during a contentious teleconference meeting in September 2015. The female lawyer left the meeting to discuss with Malik an issue relating to a civilian complaint, and then Malik called Emery on the phone to question his approach to the issue on behalf of the unidentified lawyer.
Emery hung up the phone, and in the presence of others at the meeting, allegedly said in reference to Malik and the female lawyer who had left the room: “I don’t know why everyone is acting like a bunch of pu—-s,” according to the suit.
Malik was informed about the slur and she made it clear to Emery the next day that she found his behavior offensive.
“Emery initially denied that he made the actual statement but insisted that he only meant to call Ms. Malik and the female attorney ‘pussy cats,’” according to the suit.
Malik reported the incident to the agency’s equal employment opportunity office which notified the city Law Department, which allegedly sat on the probe for five months, the suit says.
Meanwhile, Malik claims she has been allegedly retaliated against by Emery by undercutting her authority and responsibilities, and is “laying the groundwork for (her) eventual termination.”
Emery was in hot water earlier this year for calling cops “pigs.”
Malik and Charles are seeking unspecified damages in the suit which names Emery and the city as defendants which alleges they have suffered “mental anguish, depression, humiliation, embarrassment, stress and anxiety.”
“My clients will not be bullied and are sending a strong message to other employers that women must be treated fairly in the workplace and not intimidated when they have the courage to stand up to inequality and justice,” Wigdor said.
Patrick Lynch, president of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, said, “We have to question if a man who referred to New York City police officers as pigs and is now being sued for using a derogatory term to female staffers has the temperament to sit in judgment of police officers’ behavior. We have called for Richard Emery’s dismissal or resignation in the past to no avail, but now it should be clear to any reasonable person that he must go.”Emery insisted the p-word was not directed at Malik or the other lawyer. Emery said he was upset that his staff was not taking a harder line in dealing with the NYPD advocate’s office on a complaint.
“I was talking about the cowardice. I use animal metaphors and they don’t have anything to do with sex,” he said. “They have to do with the characteristics of the animals depicted. Of course I should have said something else in hindsight so there wouldn’t be this brouhaha. There’s no sexual content to it whatsoever.
“This is a pissing match that is very damaging to the functioning of the CCRB and very damaging to me. I don’t apologize for my salty language and imagery. It was a term for cowardice. The sad truth is , in this day and age, it gives rise to a lawsuit. This is a grab for power on her part. She resents any oversight. She runs the agency with an iron fist like some kind of Balkan dictator and this is her way of attacking me unfairly and with falsehoods for oppressing people in that agency.”
A source who was present at the meeting but spoke on the condition of anonymity, backed Emery’s claim that the comment was not directed at any woman.
A spokesman for the city Law Department said the complaint will be reviewed.