An Atlantic City Police Officer claims he received a death threat after he complained about police misconduct to his superiors. Sergeant Mark Benjamin is now suing the department, which is already dealing with several allegations of police brutality.
Two separate lawsuits accuse Atlantic City police officers of using excessive force while arresting unarmed people. Sergeant Mark Benjamin, a 16-year veteran with the department, says he’s witnessed his share of misconduct as well as an officer releasing a K-9 on a person without reason.
“The technical term may be a whistleblower,” Benjamin said. “But I’m just a good cop and upstanding citizen reporting misconduct.”
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Shortly after making the report however, Benjamin claims he himself became a victim. In 2012, he filed a lawsuit against the department stating he was the target of racial discrimination and retaliation after he spoke out. The suit claimed there was “criminal activity by members of the police department.”
“It was like the masses turned against me,” Benjamin said. “I reported things in reference to police misconduct and with that came the hostilities.”
Benjamin says he now fears for his life after a friend told him a hit was made against him.
“When I inquired what he meant by a hit, the individual specifically said I was being videotaped and that I better watch my back,” Benjamin said. “I took that as a threat. Just as he said, a hit means a hit.”
Benjamin says he reported the alleged threat to his superiors. After an investigation however, he was later told there was insufficient evidence to support it. NBC10 contacted a top police official who claimed he couldn’t comment on the lawsuit or the alleged threat. Court records show the Department has denied any wrongdoing however.
Benjamin says he already knows how other officers will respond when they hear about his allegations.
“They’re going to do what they’re going to do,” he said. “They’re going to say I went against the blue code. They’re going to say I’m a rat. They’re going to say they have a lack of respect for me.”
The police department and Atlantic City have denied any wrongdoing and are trying to get the lawsuit dismissed. Benjamin however continues to argue that his case should go to trial.