A state trooper said he was reassigned and demoted after he gave another trooper a speeding ticket and after he filed an internal complaint against two other troopers who allegedly brandished firearms while arresting an unarmed civilian.
Trooper Zigmund Paul
Jendrzejewski filed a 17-page federal lawsuit in Johnstown targeting state police Commissioner Col. Jeffrey Miller and three other top officials.
Jendrzejewski's attorney, Don Bailey, said his client has more than 20 years' experience as a patrol officer. While the lawsuit is about the trooper's specific situation, it shows there is a double standard for state police brass and troopers who break laws and regulations, Bailey said.
'It shows the nature of the disciplinary process of the state police, which is a clique to ensure the safety of superiors, including Miller himself, while the careers of law-abiding officers, like Jendrzejewski, are sacrificed,'' Bailey said Monday.
To that end, the suit also refers to an incident that doesn't even involve Jendrzejewski. Bailey said he investigated the incident, which he called common knowledge among rank-and-file troopers statewide.
In that incident, Miller was riding in an unmarked car driven by deputy state police Commissioner Frank Pawlowski when a trooper stopped them for driving 88 mph on the Pennsylvania Turnpike on Nov. 6, 2007.
Miller got out of the car and caused the trooper ''to leave without citing Pawlowski for traffic violations,'' the suit said. Pawlowski later took a removable hard disk from the patrol car to destroy any evidence of the stop, which Bailey said is a felony.
State police spokesman Jack Lewis said the department was reviewing Jendrzejewski's lawsuit. Per state police policy, he would not comment on the accusations, including those about the traffic stop involving Miller, or let those named as defendants comment.
The other defendants are Lt. Col. John Brown, deputy commissioner of professional responsibility; Major John Lutz who heads the state police Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement; and Capt. Jeffrey Watson, who commands Troop G in Hollidaysburg.
The lawsuit filed Thursday contends Watson wrongly accused Jendrzejewski of ''targeting law enforcement officers'' when he filed the internal complaint about the armed liquor control enforcement troopers in September 2005 and cited another LCE trooper for speeding in December 2006. The outcome of the internal complaint is not discussed in the lawsuit.
''Watson was angry with plaintiff and, acting in a threatening manner, demanded to know why the plaintiff did not give [the LCE trooper] the 'professional courtesy' of not issuing him a citation,'' the lawsuit said.
The LCE trooper was found guilty of speeding, according to Bailey and online court records. The trooper was fined $122.50 on March 13, 2007.
In April, Jendrzejewski was involuntarily transferred to Hollidaysburg where he was made supervisor of the staff unit and not allowed to patrol anymore, the suit said.
Despite the supervisory title, ''it's not a promotion,'' Bailey said. ''It's a de facto demotion. It takes away a whole lot of duties.''
Bailey said Jendrzejewski's treatment is part of a larger pattern to protect state police from accusations of wrongdoing, especially by other troopers.
''It's a pretextual way to send a message to Pennsylvania State Police members: Don't pull over law enforcement officers, they get special treatment,'' Bailey said.