Story Archive

The Thin Blue Line

A Bogota, N.J., woman asked for her emotionally disturbed 22-year-old son, Kyle, to be taken to the hospital. Bogota Police Officer Regina Tasca was called and, following protocol, requested backup, which was sent from nearby Ridgefield Park. She arrived at the scene and switched on her dashboard camera. Tasca described what her camera’s video showed next: “The Ridgefield Park officer automatically charges and takes him down to the ground. I was quite shocked. As he’s doing that, another Ridgefield Park officer flies to the scene in his car, jumps out and starts punching him in the head.” All reports indicate Kyle never threatened anyone, did not have a weapon, never resisted, and was not violent. Tasca intervened, prying the punching officer off Kyle. After the incident, Bogota Police was swift to act. “The next thing I know [my superior officer] asks me to turn over my weapon and be sent for a fitness for duty exam,” she said. While the two officers who allegedly attacked Kyle were never questioned, Tasca was suspended and is facing a departmental trial to decide if she will be terminated. (MS/WPIX New York) ...Sometimes the only reward for doing the right thing is knowing you did the right thing.
Story Update: Tasca, Bogota’s first female officer and an 11-year veteran, was fired. Her attorneys filed a federal lawsuit asking for a review of her case and reinstatement to the department. In the meantime, the mean-spirited borough council tried to claw back the $150,000 they paid her while on suspension. After three years of legal wrangling, a judge ruled that Bogota must re-hire Tasca, and give her $300,000 in back pay. But that didn’t fully settle the lawsuits. In early 2016, Tasca settled with the borough for $2.25 million. She didn’t just pocket that cash, however: about half went to her lawyers; of the remainder, she got $125,000 right away, $125,000 the next year, and then a payout of $4,000/month for as long as 20 years. In return, Tasca agreed to resign from the department, which she probably didn’t want to work for again anyway.

As noted, Tasca was the borough’s first woman cop. That it would take them until the 21st century to hit that milestone tells you something about the local officials. As of the settlement in 2016, she was still the only woman they ever hired as a police officer, which tells you even more.

Original Publication Date: 06 May 2012
This story is in True’s book collections, in Volume 18.

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