A 2012 police shooting that resulted in the untimely death of 39-year-old city man has resulted in the deceased man’s family filing a federal lawsuit against the city’s police department asking for $10 million in relief, according to court documents.
The family of Saulo Del Rosario filed the lawsuit in federal court last Tuesday. The family’s Clifton based lawyer John Klotz names six police officers in the suit: Marj Kush, Troy Bailey, Angel Sandoval, Robert Challice, Anthony Petrazzuolo, and Guiseppe Ciarla.
Kush is mentioned as the main shooter in incident that unfolded on September 1, 2012 inside 10 Redwood Avenue.
Before that tragic morning Del Rosario was treated at St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center for seizures on July 6, 2012. At discharge the deceased’s family received instructions from doctors and were given prescription for medicine. Del Rosario was to take the medication every day, but on the evening before he was fatally shot in the head by police officer Kush, he locked himself in the bathroom ignoring pleas from family members who suspected he did not take his medications to come out.
Del Rosario did come out of the bathroom that night, but locked himself in his bedroom. During that September morning Del Rosario’s 17-year-old son Honey Del Rosario grew concerned his father had skipped on the medications. “Honey was concerned that this father, Saulo, had not taken his medication as per doctors’ instructions,” the lawsuit reads. “On that same morning, Saulo Del Rosario refused the request of family member to come out of the bedroom so they could check on his medical status and well-being. The bedroom door was closed and secured on the inside with an eye-hook latch.”
Honey Del Rosario, barely able to speak English, asked his friend Kelvin Lopez to call 911 because the doctor, before releasing his father, had told the family if condition worsens the family should dial the emergency number.
At 9:14 a.m. on September 1, 2012 Lopez dialed 911 and sought assistance. “Instead of dispatching an ambulance, the 911 operator dispatched Paterson Police and designated the call as an “EDP” (emotionally disturbed person),” suit reads.
Officers Petrazzuolo and Sandoval responded. At the home Del Rosario’s sister informed the officers that she was “concerned that Saulo would have a convulsion as he did not take his medication that morning.”
Police unsuccessfully attempted to get Del Rosario out of the bedroom. Six of the man’s relative were told to exit the house. Many of them lingered in the porch. Del Rosario’s brother Elvio Del Rosario remained inside the home because police did not notice him inside the home, he was in another bedroom.
Officers Kush, Challice, and Ciarla arrived at the home minutes later. Leading the pack, Bailey ordered officers to breach the door. Kush left to retrieve a Baker Shield from his vehicle. The shield, according to the lawsuit, “is designed to retard even gunshot attack.”
Officers positioned themselves behind the shield and Challice kicked open the bedroom’s door. Kush fired two shots. Del Rosario was struck in the mouth.
Kush allegedly said Del Rosario had in his hand a hammer that he refused to drop when ordered to do so. Del Rosario did not speak English.
Elvio Del Rosario who remained in his bedroom unnoticed by police heard the gunshots and stepped out to find his had been shot. The lawsuit says the brother was escorted by police out of the home as soon as he was noticed, passed the body of his bleeding, lifeless brother.
Del Rosario was transported to the hospital where he was pronounced dead at 10:06 a.m. State Medical Examiner concluded he died from “gunshot wound of head.”
The family alleges the officer utilized deadly force that was “illegal, excessive, unjustified, unreasonable.” The lawyer also alleges the city has hampered the investigation of the incident. Kush and other officers alleges the lawsuit “engaged in a course of conduct designed to delay and impair the investigation into the use of excessive and unreasonable force, without reason or cause.”
All six officers “did conspire with one another to cover up the excessive use of force,” suit alleges.
The family is seeking $10 million in compensatory damages and attorney fees.