Bridgeport Police captains sue to block transfers

Acting Police Chief Rebeca Garcia is being sued to block transferring captains.

Acting Police Chief Rebeca Garcia is being sued to block transferring captains.

Ned Gerard / Hearst Connecticut Media

BRIDGEPORT — Three city police captains who are legally challenging the qualifications of Acting Police Chief Rebeca Garcia are asking a judge to block their sudden transfers.

On Wednesday, Garcia ordered Capt. Brian Fitzgerald, head of the Detective Bureau, transferred to patrol; Capt. Roderick Porter, head of community services, to patrol; Capt. Kevin Gilleran, from special services to head of the Detective Bureau; Capt. Steven Lougal, from patrol to special services; and Capt. Lonnie Blackwell, from patrol to administrative services.

Garcia would not comment on the transfers.

Fitzgerald, Porter and Lougal filed an injunction request in Superior Court Friday to block their transfers. No hearing date on the request has yet been set.

“The filings and motion speak for themselves,” said their lawyer, Thomas Bucci.

“The allegations (in the injunction request) are utterly baseless, and I look forward to an evidentiary hearing,” said Deputy City Attorney John Bohannon Jr.

Fitzgerald, Porter and Lougal are suing the city in Superior Court challenging Garcia’s qualifications to be assistant chief from which she was promoted to acting chief. They recently had Mayor Joseph Ganim served with notice that he will have to testify under oath regarding the process led to Garcia being selected.

“Acting Chief Garcia has intentionally obstructed the future career progressions for Captains Porter, Fitzgerald, and Lougal, solely because they challenged her appointment as assistant police chief as violating the time-honored principles of the Bridgeport civil service system,” states the injunction request.

According to the injunction request, “Acting Chief Garcia without any explanation, other than her supposed concern for the plaintiffs’ ‘career development,’ removed Captain Porter, Captain Fitzgerald and Captain Lougal from their assignments and transferred them to positions of less stature and career advancement.”

It continues that the transfers were not made after an assessment of the department needs, they were not made at a normal calendar break, such as the beginning of the year or month, or at the end or beginning of a quarter.

“The temporal proximity between the service of the notice of deposition on Mayor Joseph Ganim and the transfer of Captain Fitzgerald, Captain Porter, and Captain Lougal, is evidence of a causal connection between the two events,” the injunction request states.