The city agreed to pay $60,350 on Tuesday night to a burglary suspect to settle his police brutality lawsuit.
Jose Colon filed the lawsuit alleging police officers viciously attacked him long after he gave up fleeing and resisting arrest in an incident that occurred on March 17th, 2010 at a parking garage close to St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center.
Police officers responded to the area and blocked the entrance and exit of the parking garage. All three of the suspects — Colon and his accomplices Carlos Vasquez and Kenny Garcia – were trapped.
Colon tried to escape and struck a police officer’s interceptor. He began to elude officers and drove through a stop sign and struck another vehicle. His car began to spin after striking the vehicle making his escape futile.
He ran 25 feet before officers jumped on his back and put an end to his flight. He was slammed to the ground and handcuffed. The issue raised in his lawsuit resulted thereafter.
“At least two police officers” began hitting him with a long, hard metal object, either a night stick or a flash light as he lay on the ground in handcuffs and not resisting,” reads an opinion issued by United States judge William Martini for the district of New Jersey in 2014.
“The officers hit the top and rear part of Colon’s head three or four times with the baton while he was lying face down and handcuffed. They also hit him multiple times on other parts of his body, including his ribs, back, and chest while he was lying on the pavement,” according to court records. “The police then dragged him face-down to the patrol vehicle, causing the skin to come off of his arm, elbow, knee, and hand.”
Colon required 18 staples to close the wound in his head. He required physical therapy and began suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
Martini wrote it is “unreasonable” for officers to “strike a handcuffed suspect who is face down and not resisting arrest.”
Council members approved the settlement on Tuesday night without any public comments. The settlement resolution was lumped into the council’s consent agenda which is approved in a single round of votes.
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