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Lawsuit: 'Punishment Detail' Gave Cop PTSD

Complaint by Anthony Kaspereen says 2010 assignment to patrol Madison by foot in 90-degree heat led to dehydration and anxiety.

A lawsuit by a retired borough police officer claiming he suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) due to a patrol assignment he was given as "punishment detail" by the chief in July 2010 is in the discovery process.

Retired police Officer Anthony Kaspereen, who was a Madison police officer for 12 years, alleges in the lawsuit he was assigned to patrol Madison by foot in 90-degree heat as punishment for using his sick days for sinus problems.

The lawsuit says the sinus condition was a disability and Kaspereen was being discriminated against for his disability.

The Borough of Madison and Police Chief John Trevena are named as defendants in the suit. The borough, in its response, said the detail was a regularly-scheduled assignment and denied it was given as punishment.

The complaint says other officers told Kaspereen the chief instructed them not to talk to Kaspereen or bring him water while he was on the detail. It also says the PBA filed a grievance on Kaspereen's behalf related to the assignment.

Kaspereen is seeking compensation for loss of reputation, injury, exacerbation of pre-existing physical conditions, punitive damages, lost pay and legal fees. Kaspereen's wife, Jennifer, also is suing the borough for loss of companionship.

According to the lawsuit, on July 12, 2010, Kaspereen passed out in his home and was rushed to the emergency room and the hospital determined Kaspereen suffered from dehydration caused, in part, by the patrol assignments.

Then, from September through December 2010, Kaspereen underwent testing for medical problems he was experiencing, including weight loss. On Dec. 24, he drove to the emergency room with severe chest pains and anxiety, and was diagnosed with anxiety and given medication, the lawsuit says. He has been diagnosed with PTSD.

The first foot patrol assignment was given July 3, 2010, over the Fourth of July holiday.

"On or around 7:00 p.m., as ordered, Plaintiff Kaspereen began walking in the extreme heat wearing full uniform and bulletproof vest," the complaint says.

The department continued assigning him to the detail through the middle of August.

"The daily and cumulative effect of the baseless punishment, isolation and ostracization had a foreseeable, significant and deleterious effect of Plaintiff Kaspereen's physical and mental well-being," the complaint says.

The lawsuit was filed June 22, 2011. Kaspereen's disability retirement was approved by the pension board effective March 2011.

Kaspereen argued the lawsuit should be heard in Union County, where he lives and filed the case, because he takes anti-anxiety medication that can affect driving ability, but the court sided with Madison in saying it should be heard in Morris County.

The case is assigned to Judge Stephan C. Hansbury.

Messages left with the police department, borough administration, Kaspereen's attorney and the borough's attorney seeking comment were not returned Thursday. Kaspereen is being represented by attorney Kevin Barber. The borough and Trevena are being represented by attorney Thomas Hanrahan.

frank white April 13, 2012 at 12:38 PM
Sound like a private. I guess this grown man needs to be told to hydrate. Also, as a first responder shouldn't he know the signs of dehydration.
Donna Waters April 13, 2012 at 12:50 PM
Listen FRANK... I dont know what you do for a living but I am also a police officer and there is no way in hell you can drink enough water that you loose wearing what we wear in 90 degree heat. Especially when you are put on an assignment and not allowed any water or to bring any food or water. That is what happened to this guy! So keep you nasty comments to yourself and know the whole damn story!!!
DidUReallyJustSayThat April 13, 2012 at 03:18 PM
You'd have to try really hard not to drink water or stay cool in one of the dozen or more establishments that any good beat cop should be stopping into on a regular basis.
Donna Waters April 13, 2012 at 05:01 PM
I am so shocked and disgusted with your comments!!! This is a human being! Clearly, there is A LOT more to this story than what is being told here. Especially if he was granted his pension, then Madison was clearly proved wrong. This officer experienced a lot more mental punishment than just being put in the heat (which is not mentioned here). And how do you know he was put on a walking assigment in a business area, rather he was put in a residential area far away from stores! It's pretty stupid and insensitive of you all to past judgement about him when you have no idea what he and his family have experienced!!!! If you knew him, you would know he is no whimp and wouldn't have given up being a cop which he loved if this situation wasn't more traumatic than what is being said here! So all you insensitive people out there commenting...Stop passing judgement when you don't know the whole story (or even half of it)!!!! And by the way...don't you have anything better to do with yourselves!!!
Mikey D April 13, 2012 at 06:57 PM
"And by the way...don't you have anything better to do with yourselves!!!" This (and variations thereof) is, hands down, my favorite internet retort. Carry on.
Tim Jordan April 13, 2012 at 07:57 PM
I have worked for in Madison for over 30 years. I'll start by saying there has always been a police officer either crossing people at the intersection on Main St or walking in the business area. I have met dozens of officers over the years from the Madison Police, and have seen them on this assignment in all sorts of weather interacting with public. I can't believe that asking this guy to do his job or perform his assignment would lead this guy to think he has the right to file a lawsuit. This guy, who obviously has some type other motive up his sleeve is looking for the easy out and get rich quick solution. It sounds like Kaspreen just wasn't cut out to be a cop or do the job. I also would like to pose a question when is it ever over 90 degrees at night as the article stated Kaspreen started walking at 7pm it sounds like a bit of an exaggeration by this guy or his attorney.
Madisonres April 13, 2012 at 08:13 PM
Hey Tim...You need to read the above comment! You just don't get it do you??? There is more to the story that you don't get! And who the hell are you to make a comment like he has something up his sleeve?!! You don't know him or the story!!! Mind your own damn business buddy!!!!
J Paul April 13, 2012 at 08:38 PM
So how do beat cops in manhattan do it in the summer? Or Vegas, Houston, Miami, or dozens of other cities do it? This sounds like another public servant trying to put his hands as deep into my pockets as possible.
Tim Jordan April 13, 2012 at 09:47 PM
This is for Madisonres Yes, I do get it.. there is no good reason for this guy to cast blame on his medical condition and sue the town that blaming them hoping to get a quick buck and his pension. I been involved in politics a long time and see through this very clear. I agree with J Paul NYC Police have officers who do nothing but walk a beat and they are happy to do it. It seems PTSD is being insulted by Kaspreen's claim (although i'm not a doctor). There are some cops who go through some real tramatic situations in their career and try try so hard to recover and return to their jobs. Madisores maybe you should mind you own business and get your facts. Next we will have mechanics that wont fix a car when it gets too hot or cold.
Madisonres April 13, 2012 at 11:01 PM
Tim, Well if you did know the whole story you would know its not as simple as they are saying. There is a lot more to it!!!! You are giving your opinion based on what is said here. Do you know Kaspereen? Do you know the whole story? Are you involved???? If you answer no to any of these then you really do need to mind your own business!!! If the answer is yes then you would be siding with Kaspereen ( that is if you aren't one of the chief's boys!!!)
Wakingthefallen. April 13, 2012 at 11:33 PM
Anthony is everything that a police officer should be. He is an extremely virtuous man who was completely dedicated to his career, the community he served, and his fellow officers. He is also completely dedicated to his family and holds his wife and children above everything. They have all been through hell throughout all of this. And how dare any of you write him off as a coward or an individual who is looking for a "free ride," as it were. I can't attest for the circumstances of his early exodus from his job however, I can attest to the charecter of the man. And the world would be a better place if we had more men, as well as police officers of Anthony's calibur.
DidUReallyJustSayThat April 14, 2012 at 03:21 AM
Since he is sung the borough and any award plus attorney's fees will be paid, at least in part, by the taxpayers, this is OUR business. Ditto for his disability pension. It is being paid for by all taxpayers in NJ.
Madison Cyclist April 14, 2012 at 03:37 PM
This guy may have a legitimate beef and that's up to the court to determine. Claiming PTSD, however, is over the top. Did an IED go off while he was on patrol? He should visit a VA hospital to see what PTSD really looks like.
Smile April 15, 2012 at 12:27 AM
All the powers to be need to be fired in Madison.
Smile April 15, 2012 at 12:29 AM
All the powers to be need sensitivity training or fired. Something is wrong too many problems in such short period of time.
Outraged June 12, 2012 at 02:07 AM
If everyone read the copy of emails that were in the photo section of this they would realize there is more to this than an officer being assigned to walking patrol. This was obviously a punishment being all other officer's were told, under no circumstances, were they to back-up or request back-up from Kaspereen......if they did not follow this order they would be disciplined as well. That sentence right there tells you this was a punishment and this sort of punishment puts all cops, including Kaspereen, in a bad position. If disciplinary action is needed, than it should be taken and handled in a way that doesn't put the community or officer's in danger.
Navy wife August 09, 2012 at 02:03 AM
My husband has commented on this subject ... He has served this country under worst conditions !! This man is nothing more than a whinnying little baby !! My husband would have done his job with honor and asked for more ..
Navy wife August 09, 2012 at 02:05 AM
Let me make myself more clear ... He would asked for more shifts

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