A South Brunswick police officer suing Chief Raymond Hayducka says he was "punished" for refusing to dismiss parking tickets written to friends of the chief.

In a complaint filed in Superior Court, Officer Ricardo Moreira said Hayducka asked him to dismiss a handicap parking ticket against an individual who had attended Free Mason meetings with him. The officer brought it to the attention of Township Manager Bernard Hvozdovic who referred it to the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office.

Moreira said Hayducka intimidated him and other officers into not speaking with investigators or face retaliation, according to the complaint.

After the investigation concluded that none of the allegations by Moreira could be proven, the chief took away his badge and gun and gave him a letter calling him a "hazard" and "unfit for duty" because he lied during a disciplinary hearing, according to the complaint.

Hayducka then instructed Moreira not to speak with any of his fellow officers during the investigation, according to the lawsuit. During a union meeting members were told not to speak with Moreira under the threat of arrest or suspension, according to the complaint.

Moreira said he was denied the ability to have a lawyer present during an internal affairs interview after his suspension.

In his response to the lawsuit, Hayducka denies any wrongdoing

Hayduck's lawyer told NJ.com that Moreira filed the lawsuit after realizing he was going to be fired because of "numerous disciplines" in the past.

Moreira has been an officer since December 2011 and was recognized in 2018 with a Life Saving Medal for helping a mother whose baby was not breathing after she gave birth, according to a CentralJersey.com report.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ

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