Officer sues Westchester County Police claiming he was fired over writing a traffic ticket

Marcus Solis Image
Friday, March 15, 2024
Officer sues claiming he was fired over writing a traffic ticket
Marcus Solis has more on the interaction which is behind the lawsuit.

WESTCHESTER COUNTY, New York (WABC) -- An interaction between a Westchester County police officer and a motorist is at the heart of not one, but two lawsuits filed by the now former police officer involved.

Joseph Saetta claims he was fired from the Westchester County Police Department simply for issuing a ticket to a motorist who flashed a PBA courtesy card.

As a recent transfer from the Pleasantville Police Department, Saetta was still in his probationary period with the county police when he pulled over the vehicle on the Saw Mill River Parkway in December for having expired temporary license plates.

Seen on dashcam video, there is an exchange before the driver hands over the card and miniature police shield.

Courtesy cards are sometimes referred to as "get out of jail free cards" since they're typically given by officers to friends and family members.

Despite issuing a ticket, the traffic stop seemingly ends on a polite note.

But the driver, a lawyer herself, called headquarters afterward.

In a statement Corrine Pascariu-Costa said "the call was not made with the intention of getting the officer fired or the ticket dismissed. I called because I felt that the officer was rude to me and offensive. I don't think that he would have treated a man in the same way."

In January, Saetta was dismissed from the department, which led to a wrongful termination suit and a federal lawsuit claiming his civil rights were violated.

Still, he hopes to get his job back.

The County did not have any comment on the lawsuit, but in statement said the officer was "terminated lawfully for cause" adding the department remains committed to recruiting and retaining officers who maintain the highest standards of professionalism and respect.

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