NYPD supervisor made offensive remarks about white officer's African American boyfriend, lawsuit claims

Vanessa Weinbel alleges she was subjected to racially and sexually offensive comments from Rasheena Huffman from July 2016 to March 2018.

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By Janelle Griffith

An officer in the New York Police Department alleges in a lawsuit that an African American lieutenant supervisor made racially and sexually offensive comments toward her, in particular because the officer is white and has an African American boyfriend.

Officer Vanessa Weinbel claims in the lawsuit filed Tuesday in Brooklyn federal court that the supervisor, Rasheena Huffman, made the comments in the presence of senior officers. Weinbel is alleging race and gender discrimination in the lawsuit that also names the City of New York and four other officers as defendants.

Weinbel alleges she was subjected to racially and sexually offensive comments from Huffman from July 2016 to March 2018.

Weinbel claims Huffman told her she looks "Kardashian chic" and "that's why black men like her" and that when Huffman learned Weinbel's boyfriend is African American, she responded: "He probably isn't even black."

On one occasion, Weinbel said Huffman told her that she should consider herself "lucky" after it had been reported in the news that a white man stabbed a black person "just for being black."

"They're tired of seeing black men with white women," Weinbel alleges Huffman said. "So, you should consider yourself lucky because you probably would've been shot up first."

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Weinbel, 35, also claims that in a separate incident in August 2017, while returning from a funeral in a police vehicle, Huffman made a series of offensive remarks, including: "People should stick with their own because your kids won't come out right or look like you."

Huffman also allegedly said the U.S. government will have to create a new box on census forms labeled "confused" because Weinbel's child cannot check black or white.

Weinbel said these comments were made in the presence of three senior officers, all of whom "failed to take appropriate disciplinary action," according to the lawsuit.

About a month later, on Sept. 1, 2017, Weinbel said she filed a complaint with the NYPD's Office of Equity and Inclusion. But the remarks continued through March 2018, she alleges in her lawsuit.

Weinbel alleges Huffman once filed a false complaint against her over clothing that Huffman deemed “too revealing.” Huffman told another officer, who is also named in the lawsuit, that Weinbel's body is "too curvaceous" and that she is "trying to seduce the male officers with the size of her butt," Weinbel claims.

No action was taken against Huffman, according to Weinbel, who said she was instead ordered by two senior officers to change her attire.

After Huffman physically bumped into Weinbel in a locker room in late March 2018, Weinbel said she reported Huffman's behavior to superior officers who changed Weinbel's tour instead of taking action against Huffman.

A day or so later, Weinbel said a lieutenant who is a defendant in the lawsuit told her to "stop taking everything so personal" and to pretend Huffman is "a pile of sh-- in the street and walk over her."

Huffman could not immediately be reached at numbers listed for her. The NYPD did not immediately return a request for comment.

Weinbel, who works for the NYPD in Queens, is seeking unspecified damages.