City of Omaha alleges jury issues in calling for retrial of police captain’s lawsuit

Former OPD Capt. Kathy Belcastro-Gonzalez was awarded $700,000 in September.
The city of Omaha along with the police chief is asking for a new trial after a jury awarded $700K in lost wages to a former precinct captain.
Published: Oct. 7, 2022 at 3:51 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - The City of Omaha and its police chief are asking for a new trial after a jury awarded $700,000 in lost wages to a former precinct captain.

Omaha Police Capt. Kathy Belcastro-Gonzalez sued after she was passed over twice for a promotion. Last month, a jury sided with her.

While OPD Chief Todd Schmaderer said he passed her over based on her bad attitude and work performance, the attorney for Belcastro-Gonzalez said the former officer was simply standing up for women in the workplace.

But the city filed a motion for a new trial this week, making several claims including allegations that at least one juror had inappropriate communication with a former OPD officer during the trial; and that the jury allegedly disregarded the law as instructed and relied on “extraneous evidence” to send a message to the city.

No word yet when the motion will be considered.

After 27 years as a police officer, Belcastro-Gonzalez was in charge of the southeast precinct — and the subject of an internal investigation — at the time she was fired.

In 2017, she filed a complaint with the mayor’s office regarding unlawful discrimination practices regarding the treatment of women by the police department. In 2019, she filed a complaint with the Nebraska Equal Opportunity Commission; she also sued the city and the police chief, alleging she was wrongly passed over for deputy chief after finishing first in testing.

Managing Editor Kevin Westhues contributed to this report.