A second Oak Park police patrol officer has accused the village of Oak Park with retaliation and former Sergeant Dina Vardal of repeated sexual harassment.
On Wednesday, Aug. 19, Patrol Officer Anthony Paul Razzino filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the Illinois Department of Human Rights. On Monday he retained attorney Robert Robertson as his legal counsel.
Razzino is a former neighborhood resident beat officer (RBO) and one of eight police officers pictured on the home page of the Oak Park Police Department’s website. He is the fourth officer known to have alleged being sexually harassed by Vardal and the sixth officer to have alleged improper conduct by police officials.
Vardal resigned from the police department earlier this month.
Razzino’s complaint states that he was subjected to discrimination on the basis of his sex, and suffered retaliation by police officials.
Robertson discussed the background of Razzino’s EEOC complaint with Wednesday Journal on Monday. Robertson, who also represents Officer Rasul Freelain in his lawsuit against the village, said Razzino continually informed a supervisor of unwanted sexual advances by Vardal but was given no assistance in the matter.
“It’s my understanding Officer Razzino made repeated complaints regarding sexual harassment (by) Dina Vardal to his supervisors,” Robertson said. Robertson said Razzino’s concerns “were mocked and no corrective actions were taken.”
Razzino alleges the retaliation is due to his status as a witness in the federal civil rights lawsuit filed by Freelain against the village, “including but not limited to, being falsely accused of misconduct.”
“I am currently a witness to a pending lawsuit against the police department” Razzino told the EEOC. He went on to state his belief that he has “been discriminated against in retaliation for my engaging in protected activity (under federal law).”
Razzino said he has “been subjected to different terms and conditions of employment, including, but not limited to being subjected to drug testing after complaining of not feeling well.”
Robertson said that incident in February involved Razzino being drug and alcohol tested under false pretenses following an on duty incident in which police officials alleged he had suffered an adverse prescription drug reaction. He said Razzino was told he was being sent to the hospital to be evaluated by a doctor, but that Razzino in fact never saw a doctor that day.
“He has been falsely placed under investigation following his being identified as a witness in a case involving a different Oak Park police officer, Rasul Freelain, who I also represent,” Robertson said.
Razzino’s drug tests came back negative.
Robertson said subsequent to that February incident Razzino was “forced to resign his position as a resident beat officer” and “lost certain employment opportunities and experienced retaliation.” Besides his RBO position, Razzino allegedly lost the opportunity to work extra duty details like IDOT holiday traffic enforcement and off-duty CTA security work.
Editor’s note: This story has been corrected to reflect comments from attorney Robert Robertson related to a drug test ordered performed on Officer Anthony Paul Razzino.