Jeremy Romero, an Albuquerque police officer who was nearly paralyzed from the waist down following a 2014 on-duty accident, was recently awarded $900,000. His earnings, however, did not stem from the injuries he suffered after chasing a stolen car.
Romero was granted nearly $1 million because of a whistleblower lawsuit against the police department.
“It’s a significant amount of money,” said Rachel Higgins, Romero’s whistleblower attorney. But it can’t change anything that happened.”
Higgins is referring to Romero’s unjust firing after working five years as an investigator with the Albuquerque Department of Public Safety.
Romero was fired after reporting that another DPS officer allegedly cavorted with area prostitutes.
Whistleblower cases like these often take more than a year and it was finally announced that Romera was awarded with $900,000.
The injuries that Romero suffered in 2014 are “catastrophic,” said Higgins. He has $70,000 worth of exoskeleton robotics on his body that limits his ability to move around. This led to his nickname of “Robocop.”
“What’s true of him, and I think always will be” Higgins added, “is that he is a public servant at the end of the day.”
Romero is now a volunteer reserve officer for the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office.
“He continues to work as hard as he can to regain his physical capacity,” Higgins said, “and that, in and of itself, is more than a full-time job.”
Timothy Carlson, the officer who cavorted with local prostitutes, was later fired by the DPS, after further investigation.
During Romero’s initial report, Fred Jasler, Romero’s and Carlson’s then immediate supervisor, called Carlson the “area’s best agent.”
“I really think you aren’t going to last around here,” Jasler said to Romero. “You are really starting to stir up (expletive).”
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Your rights should be protected, no matter how awkward the work situation might be. Experienced whistleblower attorneys can offer whistleblower protection so you can be reciprocated for any damages or lost wages following the case. Good references here.