Tisbury’s insurer will pay former Tisbury Police Sgt. Kindia Roman $240,000 to settle a federal discrimination, conspiracy, and harassment lawsuit filed in 2020. The settlement releases not just the town but also Tisbury Police Sgt. Max Sherman and former Tisbury Police Chief Mark Saloio from all claims. The settlement calls for no admission of liability, and includes a nondisparagement clause.
While The Times previously reported a settlement had been reached based on court filings, the details of the settlement and the dollar amount of the settlement were only disclosed Wednesday afternoon.
“The town has reached a full and complete settlement of all claims with the town’s former police Sergeant, Kindia Roman,” a statement from the Tisbury select board states. “With an eye towards resolving this matter amicably, and taking the Town of Tisbury’s best interests into consideration, the town authorized the town’s insurer to engage in settlement discussions with Ms. Roman’s representatives during the course of litigation. The town and Ms. Roman, through counsel, participated in mediation before a senior federal district court judge, who strongly recommended settlement as compared to protracted litigation. While we believed strongly in the town’s defenses, and believed the facts, as we understood them, to be favorable to the town, we concluded that settlement was the best course of action for the town and the police department.”
The statement goes on to stress that it contains no admission of liability.
“The agreement provides that Ms. Roman will release the town from all claims, and withdraw the pending matters against the town, with prejudice, in exchange for a lump sum settlement payment. The settlement figure arrived at is $240,000, [and] will be paid by the town’s insurer. The agreement … expressly provides that the agreement is not to be construed as an admission of liability, and we firmly believe that to be the case. We wish Ms. Roman the best in her future endeavors. We will make no other comments about the litigation or Ms. Roman, and we consider this matter closed.”
Reached Wednesday afternoon, Tim Burke, Roman’s attorney, said when the Tisbury Police Department lost Roman, it was “a loss to the entire community,” because Roman was “an excellent representative of what community policing is all about.”
Burke also said he and his client are satisfied with the settlement, “and we stand by each of the allegations stated in her complaint.”
Roman, who is a detective with the Westwood Police Department, declined immediate comment, and said she would reserve remarks for some time in the future.
Neither Saloio nor Sherman immediately responded to voice messages seeking comment. Sherman, who remains on the force in Tisbury, was previously promoted from detective to sergeant with an open Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD) complaint against him from Roman. The MCAD complaint was a precursor to the federal suit. A leading accusation Roman leveled at Sherman was that he tried to ruin a job prospect for her at the Walpole Police Department.
Tisbury town administrator Jay Grande declined comment, and directed The Times to the select board’s statement.
Roman’s settlement comes after former Tisbury Police Lt. Eerik Meisner settled with the town for $400,000. Allegations that led up to that settlement included standing up for Roman in the face of criticism by town officials, including, allegedly, from former Chief Saloio.
“I’m glad the situation has been resolved with a positive outcome for Roman,” Meisner said Wednesday.
Burke also represented Meisner, and has exacted a combined total of $640,000 on behalf of the two former Tisbury cops.