$20,000 paid out in alleged police brutality lawsuit | Paterson Times

$20,000 paid out in alleged police brutality lawsuit


The city council earlier in the week approved $20,000 to settle a police brutality lawsuit brought forth by a resident, who alleged police officers “severely and repeatedly struck, beat and punched” him “in the face and about the body” during an arrest in 2011.

Jose Miguel Martinez filed the complaint in federal court following an interaction with police on May 30th, 2011. At about 2 a.m. police officers Robert Guzman, John Gonzalez, Douglas Romary, and Anthony DeSopo responded to Martinez’s East 21st Street home. Officers arrested Martinez for resisting arrest, according to the suit.

Martinez claims the officers used “resisting arrest as a pretext to justify their excessive use of force.” He further adds in the suit that the officers approached him in a “violent and threatening manner” while uttering abusive language and profanity.

The suit states Martinez sought assistance from the officers at which point they “slammed” him “to the ground and placed a police baton under his neck causing him to lose consciousness for a brief period.”

The officers allegedly struck Martinez in the face and body “causing dental fracture, maxilla fracture, and other severe and permanent injuries,” states the suit. Martinez “sustained severe and permanent, physical injuries and disfigurement, and suffered extreme psychological and emotional injuries and humiliation,” reads the suit.

After being arrested, Martinez was transported to the city’s police headquarters, where he was detained overnight. During detention, he was taken to St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center “due to his visible and severe injuries.”

Martinez’s suit alleged the officers “conspire[d] with one another to cover up the excessive use of force.” Martinez was represented by Law Offices of Nancy E. Lucianna, a Fort Lee based law firm. The suit was settled for $20,000.

Council members approved the settlement without any discussions following a closed door meeting on Tuesday evening.