Inmate’s police brutality case dismissed by federal judge | Paterson Times Paterson Times

Inmate’s police brutality case dismissed by federal judge

By Jayed Rahman
Published: July 4, 2014


A federal judge last week dismissed a city man’s lawsuit alleging several police officers viciously beat him during an arrest.

Donnie Walton, a Passaic County Jail inmate, filed the federal lawsuit in April alleging he was mercilessly beaten by seven police officers after he was arrested near the corner of East 18th Street and 7th Avenue on November 26th, 2011. In the suit Walton demanded $1 million for pain and suffering.

Esther Salas, United States District Judge for the District of New Jersey, writes in her dismissal: Walton “appears to be asserting a Fourth Amendment claim for excessive force during the course of arrest. But, based on the facts as alleged, the Court finds that the complaint is time-barred.”

Salas additionally wrote “an action for an injury to the person caused by a wrongful act, neglect, or default must be commenced within two years of accrual of the cause of action.”

Walton “was aware of the officers’ use of excessive force on November 26, 2011. Therefore… [Walton’s] December 24, 2013 complaint was filed approximately one month after the limitations period expired in November 2013,” wrote Salas.

Walton’s suit mentions police officers: John Kelly, Roberto Mercado, Roberto Mercado, Spencer Finch, Wilson Lazu, Fermin, and Sheff – but the suit is filed against Kelly. Walton’s suit sought a monetary compensation for suffering from Kelly, despite police officers being immune to such claims.

Officers are indemnified by the police department while they are on duty. Walton “seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief,” wrote Salas.

The judge found the case to be deficient. In the concluding paragraph Salas wrote: “The Court will grant… [Walton] leave to move to re-open this case and to file an amended complaint.”

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