Wall OKs $1M settlement over deceased police dispatcher's discrimination lawsuit

WALL - The estate of a former police dispatcher will receive $1 million as part of a settlement with the township over alleged racist discrimination he faced within the Wall Police Department.

The township will pay $500,000 to the estate of Nicholas Curcio, who spent 22 years as a police dispatcher and was promoted to the rank of communications supervisor before he charged with official misconduct and placed on unpaid leave. He was eventually acquitted of all charges.

The other half of the settlement sum will be covered by the town's insurance carrier.

Curcio, 51, died earlier this year. An obituary and court records did not detail his cause of death.

Ravi Sattiraju, who represented Curcio in the lawsuit, and Sean Kean, the township attorney, did not return requests for comment.

Curcio, who started as a police dispatcher in 1994, has a "darker-skinned, Italian-American complexion." In his lawsuit, he accused coworkers of making racist remarks and posting offensive cards and clippings comparing his skin tone to Black people, as well as monkeys, apes and gorillas.

The comments particularly noted his legs, which were severely discolored due to Type I diabetes and a series of health issues, which required multiple heart surgeries.

Curcio was placed on unpaid leave in August 2016 after he was charged, and later indicted, on official misconduct charges after prosecutors alleged he used a police database and created a fake Facebook account to stalk then-Police Chief Robert Brice's secretary.

But Curcio was acquitted on all charges in 2019, arguing that he was conducting a background check required of his job duties as the police department's custodian of records.

Since 2018, Wall Township has agreed to nearly $3 million in settlements with township employees who alleged discriminatory behavior by their coworkers.

In January 2020, the township agreed to a $500,000 settlement with former police officer Suresh Madhavan, whose lawsuit not only detailed racist incidents but also alleged that a police sergeant — one of his superiors — demanded he film a sex tape between the sergeant and the sergeant's mistress.

And in June 2018, the township agreed to a $1.25 million settlement with Brandon Jacobs, a former public works employee, who alleged in a lawsuit that his coworkers repeatedly made antisemitic comments and even placed Nazi literature on his desk.

Mike Davis has spent the last decade covering New Jersey local news, marijuana legalization, transportation and a little bit of everything else. He's won a few awards that make his parents very proud. Contact him at mdavis@gannettnj.com or @byMikeDavis on Twitter.

This article originally appeared on Asbury Park Press: Wall NJ: Police dispatcher's estate gets settlement over racism suit