Tisbury settles with former police candidate for $75,000

In a complaint filed nearly two years ago, Danielle Clermont claimed she was denied a position due to discriminatory animus.

The town of Tisbury agreed to pay a former police candidate $75,000 to drop a lawsuit which alleged town officials conspired against her to deny her a job with the town's police department. —MV Times

The town of Tisbury has agreed to pay a former Tisbury Police candidate $75,000 to settle a lawsuit against the town and a member of its police department.

In January 2022, Danielle Clermont filed a complaint with Dukes County Superior Court in which she claimed that the town of Tisbury had conspired with Tisbury Police Sgt. Max Sherman to freeze her out of a position with the department. The suit also claims Sherman later attempted to sabotage an alternative employment opportunity.

The lawsuit alleged intentional improper interference with an advantageous business relationship, conspiracy, slander, and failure to properly train and supervise.

The recent settlement, which releases both Sherman and the town of Tisbury from all claims, and contains no admission of liability, was reached in July; the lawsuit was dismissed in superior court at the end of August.

Details of the settlement agreement were not disclosed to the public, or to the court — according to Dukes County Clerk of Courts George Davis — nor has it been discussed openly at any select board meetings.

Obtained by The Times recently through a records request per the Massachusetts Public Records Law, the agreement calls for Clermont to be paid $75,000, forever give up any right to be hired or employed by the town of Tisbury, and that both Clermont and the defendants abide by a strict confidentiality clause. 

“If the parties are asked about their dispute, they will reply only that ‘the dispute has been resolved to the parties’ mutual satisfaction,’ or substantially equivalent phrasing that does not reveal the terms or conditions of this agreement, including the fact that there was a monetary payment,” the document reads.

A nondisparagement clause, which only applies to Clermont, states that she is prohibited from “knowingly or intentionally mak[ing] or cause to be made, any statement (oral or written) that disparages the reputation of business of Tisbury, Sherman, or any other employee of the Tisbury Police Department.”

The settlement also asks that Clermont acknowledge that all other claims pertaining to the matter, which had been filed with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and the U.S. District Court of Massachusetts, have been dismissed, and must agree not to initiate any new complaints against the defendants. 


What happened

After graduating from the Boston Police Academy in 2017, where she was sponsored by former Tisbury Police Chief Daniel Hanavan, Danielle Clermont applied for an open position at the Tisbury Police Department. She was then offered employment with the department, following a successful interview with the town’s hiring panel. 

Danielle Clermont, wearing a Tisbury police uniform, with her Boston Police Academy diploma in 2017. — Facebook Capture

Court documents — including messages from Hanavan, confirming that Clermont had been given a conditional offer of employment, which she accepted — show that Clermont was then scheduled to go before the town’s select board for appointment on July 11, 2017. 

A draft agenda for the July 11 select board meeting, date-stamped July 7, and a revised agenda stamped the same day, list Clermont as part of the administrative session: “Police Chief, Danielle Clermont: Approval to Extend Conditional Offer of Employment – Police Officer.”

On the day of the meeting, the agenda was revised once again. This time Clermont was not on the agenda. 

According to the complaint, Clermont was told by Hanavan that she’d been taken off the agenda after the select board received a negative letter referencing, among other things, a nearly decade-old incident she’d already disclosed to the department, in which she had been charged with contempt of court, and sentenced to 20 days in jail. 

Clermont was then informed that her offer of employment with the Tisbury Police Department had been rescinded. 

The alleged negative letter sent to the select board has never been produced to Clermont, her attorney, or the public. The town of Tisbury, its select board members, and police officials have since denied any knowledge of said letter, according to court documents. 

Through her attorney, Clermont has claimed that the letter was drafted by individuals with “discriminatory animus” toward her then-romantic partner, former Tisbury Police Sgt. Kindia Roman. In a federal lawsuit filed in 2020, Roman made similar allegations against Sgt. Max Sherman and the town. 

Both women alleged they’d been targeted by Sherman, in part, for their sexual orientation. They both claimed that the town of Tisbury had essentially abetted Sherman’s behavior. 

In her lawsuit, Roman — who joined the department in 2014 and was Sherman’s superior — claimed that she’d endured constant insubordination and regular harassment by Sherman (along with two unnamed officers), making her life “impossible” until her eventual departure from the Tisbury Police Department. 

Roman claimed Sherman then successfully sabotaged another employment opportunity with the Walpole Police Department, before allegedly conspiring with the town to prevent her from returning to Tisbury Police.

Roman’s allegations again mirror those from Clermont, who, once being declined for a job with Tisbury, sought employment at the Westwood Police Department, where she was informed that someone from the Tisbury Police Department reached out to Westwood Police Chief Jeffrey Silva in an attempt to damage her reputation and sabotage her candidacy at the department. Those claims were confirmed by Silva, who has stated in messages sent to The Times in 2020 that during the call, it became apparent that the caller was “trying to character-assassinate a candidate by attempting to prejudice [him] as the person who would make the final decision to present a candidate for hire.”

Though Clermont alleges Sherman was the caller, Tisbury and Sherman both deny in court documents that anyone from the Tisbury Police Department made the call that was described by Westwood Chief Silva.

Despite the call received by Silva, Clermont was offered employment with the Westwood department, where she now works as a detective.

But for Roman, alleged attempts to prevent her from gaining employment at another police department proved successful.

In July 2022, Tisbury and its insurer agreed to pay Sgt. Roman $240,000 to settle the federal complaint. Like Clermont’s suit, Roman’s settlement called for no admission of liability, and included a nondisparagement clause. 

Two years earlier, Tisbury’s insurer was ordered to pay former Tisbury Police Lieut. Eerik Meisner $400,000 to settle his federal complaint against the town and former Tisbury Police Chief Mark Saloio, in which Meisner claimed he’d been demoted and terminated after standing up for Roman.

In his lawsuit, filed with the U.S. District Court of Massachusetts in 2019, Meisner alleged that upon his own investigation into rumors surrounding the sabotage of Roman’s alternative employment, he “concluded that a member of the Tisbury Police Department had, in fact, intentionally and maliciously interfered with the hiring of Roman by the Walpole Police Department.”

The three lawsuits combined have led to a payout of $715,000. 

In a call with The Times, Clermont’s attorney, Timothy Burke, bound by the terms of the agreement, shared only that his client is “happy with the resolution.” Clermont declined to comment.

Also citing the confidentiality of the settlement agreement, Sgt. Sherman declined to comment on the outcome, but told The Times he hopes to continue his service to the town, and that he finds the complaints “by a small group of people” against him “unfortunate.”

In an email to The Times, Michael Mazurczak, legal counsel for Sherman and Tisbury, declined to comment other than that “the case was resolved to the mutual satisfaction of both parties.”

Current Tisbury Police Chief Chris Habekost declined to comment, and referred The Times to Tisbury town administrator Jay Grande, who has not yet provided any statement. Former Tisbury Police Chief Hanavan could not be reached for comment.


  1. Congratulations, Danielle! I can imagine how torturing this process must have been. Coming out on top of this required so much emotional strength and determination. Good for you to stand up for yourself. Too bad they weren’t smart enough to keep you on their side. This type of thing happens all the time in organizations, but most victims are too worn down to pursue justice.

  2. What did .Max Sherman and the Tisbury PD think was going to happen here? We do hope this aura of homophobia has been drummed out of all areas where prejudiced people have power. Brava to Danielle for pursuing this case, and good luck to her going forward.

    • The homophobia will be drummed out when the homosexuals have been drummed out.
      We will always have homophobes

  3. I wish our Tisbury leaders were more conservative, honest, trustworthy and cared more about doing their jobs properly, in the sunlight instead of doing things to benefit themselves!!
    It is costing us honest and old taxpaying natives a fortune to live and stay here!
    Sure wish we had 1/2-way different decent leadership!

    Now to those who have `Washed-a-Shore` here and will say “well why don’t you run for office”?
    Well, I have been there and done that in many, many ways against all odds for decades so save yourself from looking foolish.

    • When and what boards Woody?
      I “washed a shore” in 1984 and don’t ever remember seeing your name on any ballots or any of the various boards of local government.

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