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Jul 18, 2013 09:40 AM EDT

Black Orderlies Racially Abused by an Anaesthesiologist and a surgical Technician at North Shore University Hospital

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Elijah Crawford and Ishmael Cox, two African-American attendants at North Shore University Hospital have filed a discrimination lawsuit in Brooklyn Federal Court, claiming that they were frequently subjected to incredibly offensive and insulting behavior from Dr. Charles Militana, an anesthesiologist, and Mario Nistico, a surgical technician.

"Where I work, there are a lot of educated people with an immature way of behaving," said Crawford, 43. "When I see a noose, it's a statement of racial hate. It's a threat. It's a sign of terrorism."

Nistico, a technician, admitted to dangling two nooses - first from a light fixture in an operating room in the summer of 2011 and the second one, a year later, from Crawford's own locker. Crawford said that the nooses were part of a series of insulting racial slurs.

According to the suit, both Militana and Nistico, allegedly made crude sexual and racial remarks to both the orderlies:

- Militiana to Crawford - commented on the size of his genitals; asked him about his penis size and mocked President Obama because he is black.

- Nistico to Crawford - has big lips because he is black and his hair is like a big Brillo Pad.

- Militana to Cox - "It's about time they brought in some Whites here."

- Nistico referred to blacks as 'Niggers' and remarked 'You Niggers are all the same.'

- During a conversation, Militina allegedly stated, 'President Obama is a stupid black man' and asked Crawford, 'How can Obama be smart? He is black.'

Interestingly, the Manhassett, L.I., hospital did not report the noose incidents to the Nassau County Police Department and instead conducted an internal investigation at the time that resulted in 'half-hearted apologies' from both 59-year-old's Nistico and Militana.

"They (the hospital) wanted to cover it up," Cox, 63, said.

Nistico apologized for placing the nooses in the workplace, but said that it was not planned to spark race war. In fact, the noose was aimed at a demanding surgeon who was widely hated.

Earlier, Nistico was suspended without pay for one week and ordered a class on workplace behavior.

Crawford and Cox, who have worked at North Shore for more than 16 years, are also seeking monetary damages for causing emotional pain.

Derek T. Smith, the plaintiffs' lawyer, said that for several years, a noose was always used to raise terror in blacks and as a result, 'there can be no mistaking a noose.'

"It's laughable. ......the word 'nigger' was thrown around a lot.........one or more of defendants said they 'hated niggers'-you throw that level of racist animosity and then on top of that two instances of a noose where both of my clients, both African-American, were able to see them? No other symbol evokes more racial significance than a noose," Smith said.

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