Twists and Turns in Wacky Religious Discrimination Case in NYC

A Queens woman, employed as a school safety office in Queens, objected to the use of new biometric identification cards used by the NYPD to track its employees. The individual, Velma Craig, claimed that the cards carried the “mark of the beast”, and were a symbol of the devil’s manifestations.

Rather than using the new id badge, Craig resigned and promptly sued the City for religious discrimination. Craig brought her suit pro-se against the City, meaning she wasn’t represented by an attorney. Following the City’s failure to explain why the City did not let her use her previously issued ID and move on, the Judge in the case ruled in Ms. Craig’s favor.

All that was necessary was to hold hearings to determine what her actual damages would be. An attorney was appointed for her, but apparently the attorney was unable to work with Ms. Craig, refused to return his calls, ultimately resulting in the attorney asking to be removed from the case. During the hearing for damages, Craig again asked to be represented by counsel. The trial Judge, Judge Mauskopf, refused, and awarded her damages in the amount of one dollar.

This case is remarkable in a number of ways, in that the Plaintiff prevailed against the city for religious discrimination, and did so largely as a pro-se litigant, only to essentially throw her damages out the window on her own accord. Strange days, indeed.