Racial Taunting Gets Former Public Works Employee 270 Days in Jail, Probation
The sentence stems from an April 2007 incident in which a black township employee was locked in a cage and called a "monkey."
CAMDEN—A Superior Court judge on Friday sentenced a former Gloucester Township public works employee to a 270-day, weekend-only jail term and four years of probation for racially taunting a co-worker during an incident nearly four years ago.
David T. Pomianek, 32, also must forfeit his right to seek future public employment, and was ordered by the judge to pay minimal fines.
Camden County Assistant Prosecutor Nevan Soumilas requested that Judge Ronald J. Freeman impose a seven-year sentence on the second-degree official misconduct conviction, which carries a sentence of five to 10 years in state prison.
Soumalis also requested a sentence of between nine and 18 months on the fourth-degree bias intimidation conviction.
The prosecutor noted she did not feel probation was a strong enough punishment for Pomianek, citing what she felt to be a lack of remorse on his part following his conviction.
"He just doesn't 'get' the ramifications of language and the effect that words can have on people," Soumalis said.
Freeman opted to use sentencing guidelines for a third-degree official misconduct offense. Pomianek would face three to five years in state prison if he violates the terms of his probation.
The judge noted he took into consideration a number of factors in his sentencing decision, including a letter from victim Steven Brodie Jr.'s parents suggesting they did not feel Pomianek deserved prison time and the defendant's lack of a criminal record.
Freeman ordered Pomianek to begin serving his sentence, which will span 135 weekends, today at Camden County Jail.
Pomianek was convicted Dec. 9 on several charges that claimed he called Brodie, who is black, "a monkey" after another public works employee allegedly lured the victim into and then locked him in a cage in the public works department's Erial Road garage in April 2007.
According to a court document Freeman read during sentencing Friday, Pomianek also stated while Brodie was locked in the cage: "Throw a banana in a cage, he jumps right in."
Facing a maximum possible sentence of 11 1/2 years in prison, Pomianek seemed relieved by the judge's decision, which will allow him to be free Monday through Friday while he serves out 135 weekends at Camden County Jail, beginning Saturday.
Brodie, now 31 years old, attended Friday's sentencing, but was unavailable for comment after Freeman announced the sentence.
"This whole thing is unfortunate, and it's unfortunate for all of the parties involved," Brodie told Freeman in a brief statement he offered during Friday's hearing.
Michael Dorazo Jr., 30, is accused of luring Brodie into the cage. He is awaiting trial on identical charges as those on which Pomianek was convicted, as well as false imprisonment, according to the Camden County Prosecutor's Office.
Freeman rejected defense attorney F. Michael Dailey's motions to set aside the jury conviction and for a new trial. Soumalis stated during Friday's hearing that Dailey appeared headed toward an appeal.
In arguing against the jury's guilty finding on the official misconduct charge, Dailey said, "He was a bystander who made an offensive remark."
Dailey noted several times Friday that he and his client do not dispute Pomianek made the comments.
"The old statement of little children: Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me. Was Mr. Brodie hurt? Yes. But he continued to work. He did not have to seek the services of a mental health professional," Dailey said. "He wasn't ... Mr. Pomianek didn't physically punch him in the face.
"He made a hurtful, insulting remark. As compared to the harm that is normally involved in cases where people are sentenced to jail for seven years, I'd be surprised to see anyone who has been sentenced to seven years for this type of harm involving words."
Dailey declined to comment on the case after Freeman delivered the sentence.