A Manhattan federal judge Wednesday tossed a hero cop’s lawsuit against the NYPD, rejecting the officer’s claims that his First Amendment rights were violated by superiors after he was punished for speaking up about alleged quotas for arrests and tickets.
NYPD Officer Craig Matthews claimed that he had suffered workplace retaliation for speaking up about quotas for arrests, stop-and-frisks and summonses that were allegedly ordered by his commanders in The Bronx’s 42nd Precinct.
But US District Judge Paul Engelmayer said that while Matthews’ comments served a purpose, his beef amounts to a workplace disagreement.
“The court recognizes that, as a matter of fact, Officer Matthews’ speech had undeniable value to the public,” Engelmayer wrote. “However, as a matter of law . . . not all speech by public employees enjoys First Amendment protection.
“The First Amendment does not constitutionalize the employee grievance,” the judge said.
Matthews became a hero last year, several months after filing the suit — when he was one of two cops who gunned down a man who had just killed his former co-worker outside the Empire State Building.
Laid-off designer Jeffrey Johnson pumped five rounds into Steve Ercolino outside 10 W. 33rd St. on Aug. 24, then calmly strolled onto bustling Fifth Avenue before being confronted by Matthews and fellow Officer Robert Sinishtaj.
The two cops had been stationed outside the Empire State Building, as part of one of the NYPD’s counterterrorism units, at the time.
Republished with permission of The New York Post