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Open Government Advocacy Project:
State pays $6,000 to settle police improper detention/assault suit

Issue Detail:

On June 14, 2013, the State of New Jersey agreed to pay $6,000 to a Newark man who sued members of the New Jersey State Police for allegedly assaulting him, macing him and arresting him without probable cause. In his suit, Salah Williams said that on January 29, 2008, he was walking near his carpet store in Newark when he was detained without cause by Troopers Gerald Dellagicoma and David Valente. He claimed that the Troopers \"proceeded to physically assault [him] and maced him for no reason at all.\" He also claimed that in order to cover up their improper acts, the Troopers, along with Supervising Trooper Dennis White, \"conspired together and filed false criminal charges against\" him which were ultimately dismissed. The case is captioned Williams v. State, Federal Case No. 2:10-cv-03478 and Williams\'s attorney was Randy P. Davenport of Newark. Case documents are on-line here. None of Williams\'s allegations have been proven or disproven in court. The settlement agreement resolution expressly states that the $6,000 payment does not constitute an admission of wrongdoing by State or any of its officials. All that is known for sure is that State or its insurer, for whatever reason, decided that it would rather pay Williams $6,000 than take the matter to trial. Perhaps the defendants\' decision to settle was done to save further legal expense and the costs of trying what were in fact exaggerated or meritless claims. Or, perhaps the claims were true and the defendants wanted to avoid being embarrassed at trial. This is the problem when cases settle before trial--it is impossible to know the truth of what really happened. ABOUT ME AND WHY I\'M POSTING THIS. I chair the New Jersey Libertarian Party\'s Open Government Advocacy Project which seeks to increase governmental transparency and accountability, particularly at a local level. For more information on the Libertarian Party, go to http://www.njlp.org. As part of my work, I routinely check civil court cases where at least one of the parties is a government agency or official. Most often, these settlement agreements are never revealed to the public. I post them on the Libertarian Party\'s blog at http://njcivilsettlements.blogspot.com and other public forums because I believe that civil settlements, regardless of amount, may be of interest to citizens and taxpayers. John Paff Somerset, New Jersey




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New Jersey Libertarian Party Open Government Advocacy Project: State pays $6,000 to settle police improper detention/assault suit. November 14, 2013.
URL: http://ogtf.lpcnj.org/2013/2013318u2/
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