Two lawsuits pitting a Camden police lieutenant and a former captain against Camden County Police Chief Scott Thomson have been filed in federal court in Camden.
The lawsuits - filed Tuesday and last week - involve John A. Sosinavage, who worked at the department from 1994 to 2013, and Lt. Anthony Carmichael, who started the same year and remains at the department. Both previously worked in the Internal Affairs Unit, and allege in their lawsuits that they were told to bend the rules in Internal Affairs investigations.
Sosinavage was assigned to Internal Affairs in 2004 after being promoted to lieutenant. Carmichael was assigned to the unit in 2008 and supervised Sosinavage.
Thomson, according to the lawsuits, said Sosinavage and Carmichael did not have to follow guidelines from the Attorney General's Office about investigating administrative cases. Thomson also allegedly said that he would decide what and what not to investigate, the suits said.
Dan Keashen, a county spokesman, did not return a call for comment. Cheryl Cooper, the lawyer representing Carmichael and Sosinavage, also did not return calls.
Thomson did not respond to an e-mail and a call through a police spokesman for comment, but said in May 2010 after Sosinavage and Carmichael filed a lawsuit in state Superior Court that the allegations were fueled by "personal animosity based upon reassignment or discipline."
On April 8, 2009, the lawsuits filed in federal court said, Thomson ordered Carmichael to charge officials in two cases before investigations into their alleged infractions were complete, despite warnings that it could cause trouble for the department.
Two days later, Sosinavage learned he was being transferred out of Internal Affairs to a midnight patrol-division shift, the lawsuits said. On April 20, Carmichael also learned he was being transferred to the midnight shift, the lawsuits said.
Louis Vega, hired as a consultant for the Camden City Police Department before it became a county department, is also named in the lawsuits. He allegedly told Sosinavage and Carmichael, before their transfers, that they should focus less on criminal infractions and more on rule infractions.
Vega, the lawsuit said, also repeatedly told them that "he wanted to put the officers out of work, 'teach them a lesson,' and have them fight to get their jobs back."
Others named in Sosinavage's lawsuit include Assistant Chief Orlando Cuevas, and Carmichael's lawsuit names Deputy Chief Joseph Wysocki. The city and Camden County are also named.