Sharon Carolyn Balli, the first female Indian-Guyanese ever made captain at the New York Police Department (NYPD), has accused one of her colleagues of sexual harassment at workplace and is planning to sue the department. The now-retired Army major said that she was subjected to repeated sexual harassment and was even targeted with an Internal Affairs probe when she tried to complain about him.
Balli has now accused the NYPD of safeguarding the male officers and turning a deaf ear to her repeated complaints. The accusations come at a time when police departments across states in the United States are being slammed for brutality with protesters calling for reforms.
Balli has accused the NYPD of not taking action despite repeated complaints against her colleague Capt. Hariton Marachilian after he repeatedly asked about her sex life. She has now filed a notice of claim with the NYC's Comptroller's Office seeking $5 million, the notice reads.
According to New York Post, Balli said that her workplace was a "boy's club" and she had been "living six months of hell" as the narcotics captain in the department. "While reviewing narcotics operation protocols, he has blatantly asked about Claimant's and her husband's sex life," the notice reads. "Do you have great sex?" and "You need to have more sex," she recalled him saying, the notice further reads.
Balli, who is assigned to Manhattan South Narcotics, said that she is no ordinary woman and will be taking the matter to higher levels. In fact, Balli's ordeal didn't end there. She was subjected to ridicule repeatedly by other colleagues. She also accused Marachilian of attempting to enter her shared executive bathroom on "several occasions" between December 2019 and June 2020 while she was taking a shower. Moreover, he also tried on multiple occasions to get a glimpse of Balli undressing by using a spare key to get into her locked office, according to the notice. Marachilian, however, isn't the only one Balli has accused in her notice. Another captain, Edwin Nuez, a colleague and friend of Marachilian, also made lewd comments, she alleged.
Helpless and Scared
Balli said that initially she felt that a complaint would solve the issue but she was proven wrong when she reported the incidents to Deputy Inspector Andrew Arias, who told her that she would have to "deal with it" and "I am telling you to stand down and shut the f–k down."
Left with no other choice she decided to file a complaint with the Employment Opportunity Commission, which according to Balli, further created a "toxic hostile work environment." She is now the target of an Internal Affair Probe after she decided to set up a camera inside her office cabin to check if the two accused went in there in her absence.
Balli's allegations once again bring to fore the growing incidents of sexual harassment at workplace with the police departments in the United States no exception. Police across the United States are facing backlash for atrocities and several other issues. This has seen many states going for extensive police reforms but the problems seem to be far from over.