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Racial-Bias Conviction of Former Gloucester Twp. Employee Overturned

In a published decision, a state Appellate Court panel partially overturned the 2010 conviction of David T. Pomianek Jr., a former township public-works employee.

A state Appellate Court panel on Tuesday partially overturned the conviction of a former township Public Works employee accused of calling a black co-worker who was locked in an equipment cage a "monkey."  

In a 37-page, published decision, a three-judge panel threw out charges of bias intimidation and official misconduct against David T. Pomianek Jr. The judges upheld Pomianek's convictions on charges of harassment by communication and harassment by alarming conduct. 

In essence, the appellate court ruled that the state failed to prove Pomianek's biased intent in making the comment. 

The state's anti-bias law "would be unconstitutional if it permitted a defendant to be convicted of a bias offense based on the victim's perception of the defendant's conduct, without requiring the state to prove defendant's biased intent in committing the underlying crime," the court found. 

(To read the court's decision, click on the PDF above.)

A jury convicted Pomianek, who is white, in December 2010 following a trial in state Superior Court in Camden. 

A co-defendant, Michael Dorazo Jr.–who is also white –allegedly asked the victim, Steven Brodie Jr. to go into a cage to get equipment at the township's former Public Works garage on Erial Road in April 2007. Once Brodie was inside the cage, Dorazo locked the door, according to court testimony. Brodie was locked inside the cage for three to five minutes. 

During this time, Pomianek allegedy said, "Throw a banana in a cage, he jumps right in."

Brodie testified he did not hear Pomianek refer to him as a "monkey" during the incident, but other Public Works employees who were present testified Pomianek did make that reference. 

Pomianek was sentenced to 270 days in the county jail, to be served on weekends. 

Dorazo pleaded guilty in 2011 to a disorderly persons offense in connection with the incident. 

The appellate court remanded the bias intimidation and official misconduct charges against Pomiank for retrial. 

Jason Laughlin, spokesman for the Camden County Prosecutor's Office, which prosecuted Pomianek, said Tuesday afternoon his office had no comment on the appellate decision. 

"We'll determine how to proceed with the case after a review of the decision," Laughlin said in an email. 

In February 2012, a U.S. District Court judge dismissed a civil-rights lawsuit filed by Brodie in connection with the incident, ruling the statute of limitations had passed by the time Brodie filed his complaint in April 2011. 

JohnQ January 31, 2013 at 01:01 AM
Are bananas racist or just fruit?? Freedom of speech prevails!!!!!!
Jane B January 31, 2013 at 02:14 PM
Thanks for reporting the facts this time. I wish all the reporters could have done this when it happened. David might never have been convicted if the prosecution hadn't whipped the public into a frenzy over this horrible "racist" by their false and misleading statements, which the press jumped all over and reported word for word. Poor David has been through a nightmare.
karen January 31, 2013 at 03:10 PM
If a black person put a white person in a cage and said "Polly want a Cracker" that would be fine, it would have never even made it to a court! This is what is wrong with our world when it happens to a black person everyone is all over it, but if it's black on white it's pushed to the wayside. But than the blacks don't want racism in the world, but they are the ones that keep it going, by making such a big ordeal out of stupid stuff. Before you get on my case, I am NOT saying this is all the blacks, because IT ISN'T, but the ones that do this are the ones that really don't want racism gone! (Sharpton, Jackson etc)There are whites that do the same thing. If we really wanted peace in the world than we wouldn't even mention race in anything!!!!!!!! All the time and money that was wasted on this, because someone got their feelings hurt, it's part of life! Deal with it! This guy gets 270 days and the guy that robbed and killed a K-9 gets drug rehab! AND WE WONDER WHAT IS HAPPENING TO OUR WORLD!! WHAT A SOCIETY WE LIVE IN!!

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