Records: NYPD sergeant retaliated against after accusing supervisor of bullying
Sgt. Harold Gates was sent for an evaluation, had gun taken after telling a deputy inspector she was 'the reason cops shoot themselves'
New York Daily News
NEW YORK, NY — A veteran sergeant and union rep who called his commanding officer a “bully” during an argument over his evaluation was then ordered to get a psychiatric exam, briefly lost his guns and got bumped to the midnight shift, according to documents obtained by the Daily News.
Sgt. Harold Gates, 46, got into the argument on Aug. 16 with Deputy Inspector Tania Kinsella at the housing precinct in Coney Island where they both worked. Gates had approached Kinsella to appeal an interim evaluation that gave him a lower rating than he had ever gotten in the past, records show.
During the course of the argument, Gates called Kinsella a bully, and added, “You’re the reason cops shoot themselves. You’re the lowest of the low,” records show.
The exchange came amidst a suicide crisis in the NYPD, which has lost 10 active officers and two retired cops to suicide this year. Sgt. Linhong Li became the 10th officer to die by suicide after he fatally shot himself in his Queens home after cleaning out his locker at the 24th Precinct in Manhattan. The NYPD is looking into allegations that he was being bullied at the precinct.
After Gates confronted Deputy Inspector Kinsella, she ordered him to see a department psychiatrist, claiming in an official memo that his statements amounted to “suicidal ideation.” She also criticized the quality of his work in the memo.
Kinsella ordered Gates’ guns, shield and ID taken, records show. She transferred him that day to Queens VIPER, records show. NYPD Chief of Housing James Secreto approved the move.
Gates passed the mandatory psychiatric interview on the same day Kinsella flagged him as a possible self-harm risk. The NYPD on Aug. 21 sent a memo noting that he was cleared by the supervising psychologist and “there are no psychological restrictions prohibiting [him] from carrying firearms,” according to a copy obtained by The News.
Gates eventually got his guns, shield and ID back.
Then on Aug. 29, he was abruptly transferred to another housing cop precinct in lower Manhattan and assigned to work the graveyard shift, records show.
In an email to The News, Secreto defended the actions taken by Deputy Inspector Kinsella.
“This is not the Daily News,” he said. “A sergeant cannot go off on the deputy inspector without repercussions. I don’t consider it a workplace dispute. We are a paramilitary organization.”
The NYPD declined to make any further official comment.
Gates has been a cop for 13 years. He made 120 arrests on patrol as a police officer. As a sergeant he has supervised thousands of arrests. He is also a lawyer who previously worked for the City Council.
Former NYPD Chief of Patrol Wilbur Chapman, who was not involved in the dispute between Gates and Kinsella, said the deputy inspector’s actions appeared to be an abuse of authority.
“The idea of being of being a commander is to motivate in a positive manner production out of your subordinates,” said Chapman, who also served as head of training and the city transportation commissioner.