In New Jersey, police departments may be sued for causing injuries to citizens. Although it is true that police officers and other law enforcement personnel enjoy certain protections from liability, this does not mean that they are totally immune to civil lawsuits. In many cases, police officers can be held accountable for causing injuries to people, especially when they act in a particularly negligent or reckless manner. These police brutality lawsuits often stem from excessive force and other similar forms of misconduct.
Two recent lawsuits against police departments in New Jersey highlight this issue. They also show that lawsuits against police departments are not only possible, but they also have a history of paying out settlements for plaintiffs who have suffered legitimate damages. In fact, the highest police brutality settlements in New Jersey history have been paid out within the past few years, including settlements of $10 million and $7 million in 2022 alone. If you believe you have suffered injuries as a result of police misconduct, consider getting in touch with a personal injury lawyer in New Jersey to receive personalized guidance based on your unique situation.
Injured Man Shot By Police Sues for $50 Million
On July 11, it was reported that an injured man was suing a police officer who shot him in the back – as well as the City of Paterson. The 28-year-old claims that he was unarmed when he was shot twice in by an officer in Paterson’s First Ward one year prior in 2022. The officer was allegedly responding to a noise complaint when he heard gunshots and rushed to what he believed was the source of the noise. It was at that point that he saw the plaintiff, who was reportedly running away from the gunshots.
According to the plaintiff, the officer then demanded that the plaintiff drop his weapon, despite the fact that this individual had no weapon. Without further delay, the officer allegedly opened fire on the plaintiff, striking internal organs and the spinal cord with two bullets. He then proceeded to place a knee on the plaintiff’s back and handcuff him. During the next few moments, the officer asked the plaintiff why he ran, to which the plaintiff responded that he was scared about the gunshots. Body-worn camera footage allegedly confirms this. No weapon was ever recovered from the immediate vicinity of the shooting, suggesting the plaintiff was also telling the truth about being unarmed that night.
As a result of this incident, the police officer was charged with second-degree aggravated assault and second-degree official misconduct. He was then placed on paid administrative leave. This was not the first time an incident of this nature occurred within the Paterson Police Department, and it may not be the last.
Family Sues Police Department for Not Providing Medical Assistance
Other than police brutality and excessive force, law enforcement officials and departments may also be sued for other forms of misconduct that lead to harm. On July 11, it was reported that the family of a deceased individual was suing the Pennsville Police Department for failing to provide medical assistance to a man in their care. This individual experienced a medical emergency and died while restrained by police and was ignored despite wheezing and gasping for air.
The incident stems from an arrest in February of 2023 when the deceased individual and two others were arrested. The man was restrained with zip ties that were so tight that they restricted blood flow. He was then placed in a sitting position in the cold weather for approximately 2.5 hours. It was during this time that the victim began to gasp for air and wheeze. The other individuals under arrest screamed out for help, but the officers on the scene took no action. According to the attorney representing the deceased individual, the officers believed he was faking sickness in an effort to avoid prison.
The individual then began vomiting, and witnesses stated that his skin “turned gray” as he struggled to breathe. Eventually, the officers did call an ambulance – but by that time, it was far too late to save the individual’s life.
Where Can I Find an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney in New Jersey?
If you have been searching for a personal injury attorney in New Jersey, look no further than Lependorf & Silverstein, P.C. Over the years, we have helped numerous injured plaintiffs pursue justice and compensation, including those who have been harmed by government agencies in New Jersey. We know that these injuries can be life-altering and traumatic. Book your consultation today to discuss your options and get started with an effective action plan.