A veteran cop who blew the whistle on the NYPD’s handling of officer mental-health treatment — amid a spike in police suicides — is suing the city for $1 million, The Post has learned.
Jonathan Oliveras, who joined the force 13 years ago after tours in the Iraq War, exclusively told The Post last year he was publicly embarrassed by police supervisors after revealing to department doctors that he’d been on anti-depressants.
The 41-year-old filed a lawsuit in Manhattan Supreme Court Friday against New York City and, according to a notice of claim filed in December, is seeking $1 million in damages.
“I’m suing because they [department officials] don’t want cops to self-medicate but the job doesn’t want cops taking medication that would curb those cravings — and, so, hopefully, this can have the department revisit,” Oliveras said in an interview Friday.
“The job always talks about seeking help. They post these videos, you go to for these training classes but they don’t address medication. They don’t talk about or explain or educate [that] there are medications out that can help. Instead of just being vague just telling them just seek help.”
After Oliveras told NYPD doctors he had been taking Prozac, the department publicly stripped him of his gun and badge and transferred him around half a dozen times over the next two months.
The cop came forward publicly in October 2019 in an emotional recounting of the anxiety-inducing internal response from the NYPD, which at the time was publicly touting that stressed-out cops should “Please reach out” for help.
He described the calls for cops to come forward — as the department attempted to address an epidemic of officer suicides — as just “smoke and mirrors.”
“I would have just been better if I kept my mouth shut,” Oliveras said last year when he confessed the whole experience had made him feel like an outcast.
NYPD Police Commissioner at the time, James O’Neill, was publicly empathetic with Oliveras’ struggles — saying he was “sorry he went through that” and “we have to make sure people feel comfortable to come forward.”
But that same day, the agency’s Internal Affairs Bureau showed up to Oliveras’ post at central booking saying he may have violated department guidelines by speaking with The Post.
The anxiety and panic attacks, which he previously never experienced, caused by the retaliatory response from Internal Affairs caused Oliveras to relapsed with alcohol, according to the lawsuit.
To date, the cop remains on modified duty.
The lawsuit accuses the department of discrimination.
“The NYPD continues to fail when dealing with the mental health of their officers,” the cop’s attorney, John Scola said. “We hope this lawsuit will help shine light on these unlawful practices and cause other officers who are currently suffering in silence to come forward.”
The NYPD declined to comment on the pending suit.
Oliveras said he hopes the lawsuit will force the department to address the “stigmatization” officers face.