CLARKSTOWN, N.Y. – A federal lawsuit filed Thursday against the town and suspended Police Chief Michael Sullivan claims the police department’s Special Intelligence Unit racially profiled a local community group, engaged in unlawful surveillance of Black Lives Matter and illegally monitored the Facebook page of Supervisor George Hoehmann, according to lohud.com.
Members of We the People, an African-American community group, filed the suit claiming their organization was profiled after a flier for their production of a play called “A Clean Shoot,” was brought to the attention of Clarkstown Police Department’s Special Intelligence Unit, according to lohud.com, which reported that the former head of the unit, former Detective Sgt. Stephen Cole-Hatchard, also is named as a defendant.
Sullivan, who has been suspended from the police department since July, is facing multiple allegations of wrongdoing, including disobedience, insubordination and allowing improper surveillance .
In addition to monitoring Hoehmann’s Facebook page to identify his political supporters, the Special Intelligence Unit, with Sullivan’s consent, also conducted surveillance operations on Rockland County Sheriff Lou Falco and Town Justice Howard Gerber, reported lohud.com while citing We the People’s lawsuit.
Sullivan and Rockland County District attorney Thomas Zugibe have denied that the Special Intelligence Unit engaged in any improper surveillance, according to lohud.com.