James McCormack, one of six Long Beach police officers who have filed a $39 million federal lawsuit against the City of Long Beach, is taking his case to the national media, including a scheduled stop on Fox News Channel Thursday night.
A retired 33-year veteran of the Long Beach Police Department, McCormack and his attorney, Eric Rothstein, appeared on the Mike Huckabee Report, a nationally syndicated show on Fox News Radio hosted by the former Republican governor of Arkansas who ran for president in 2008. Sean Hannity, the conservative talk show host, will interview the former Long Beach lieutenant on his show on Fox News Channel, starting at 9 p.m., Fox spokesperson Stephanie Kelly told Patch.
Huckabee asked questions about the lawsuit, filed on May 23 with the U.S. District Court, which alleges that newly-appointed Police Commissioner Michael Tangney, City Manager Jack Schnirman, City Council members, Long Beach Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association and former PBA President Stefan Chernaski violated their civil rights under the First and Fourteenth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution.
McCormack, who headed the traffic division when Tangney was appointed acting police commissioner in January, told Huckabee that, as part of his duties he was a liaison to local politician and was able to get Nassau County Legislator Denise Ford, R-Long Beach, to assist the department in purchasing equipment. When Ford, a Republican, ran for re-election last year, Tangney’s wife, Darlene, a Democrat, challenged her seat but lost in the November election.
“Mike Tangney took exception to the fact that I had worked hand in hand with his wife’s opponent, and she lost,” McCormack told Huckabee on his show earlier this week. “And he immediately went on a tirade and assigned me to the midnight shift.”
McCormack said Tangney proceeded to demote other officers who did not share his politics and brought departmental charges against four other officers who were not aligned with him politically.
The lawsuit alleges Tangney and the Democrat administration that took majority control in January “demoted, re-assigned, changed shifts and filed baseless, malicious, inappropriate and/or untimely departmental charges against the plaintiffs as political retribution for their support of Republican and Long Beach Coalition candidates during the 2011 election campaign.”
In addition to McCormack, the other plaintiffs, who are all active officers, include James Canner, Karl Heyes, Jose Miguez, John Radin and Benjamin Tyne. The suit states that McCormack retired because of stress due to the demotions and being relegated to the midnight shift. All six plaintiffs seek $6.5 million in damages.
Canner, Tayne, Radin and Hayes are the only officers who have been served with disciplinary complaints in their department since the new Democrat administration took majority control in January, and that the PBA and Chernaski failed to fairly represent them in that “their requests were ignored or summarily dismissed,” the suit reads.
Eric Rothstein, who appeared on Huckabee’s show with McCormack, said about his six clients: “The only ones who were subjected to this kind of treatment are these individuals. And the ones who have done better under this new commissioner are other people loyal to him and the Democratic Party.”
City and union officials have both denied the charges in the suit and say they will “vigorously and aggressively” defend against them.