Sunday, March 22, 2015

A police misconduct case actually goes to trial.


Update: April 23, 2015


Glen Forero's excessive force lawsuit has settled.  According to an April 2, 2015 settlement agreement on-line here, Forero accepted $200,000 to settle the case.  According to court records, the settlement took place during the trial.

--original post follows--

Monday, March 23, 2015 starts the second week in the trial of Glen Forero's excessive force lawsuit against Atlantic City Police Officers Mark A. Pincus, Jr. and Jerard Ingenito.  The vast majority of such cases settle prior to trial, depriving the public from ever learning whether the officers did or did not do that for which they stand accused.  Anyone interesting in attending the trial should report to Judge Joseph H. Rodriquez's courtroom in the Federal Courthouse in Camden on Monday, March 23, 2015 at 9:30 a.m.  The case number is 1:11-cv-01630.

For a case to go to trial is interesting in itself.  What makes this case even more interesting is that the plaintiff is vigorously pursuing a Monell claim--that the police department itself is liable because of a policy or custom of allowing, or at least turning an indifferent eye toward, a "pattern, policy and practice of police abuse and misconduct against citizens."

In support of this "pattern, policy and practice," Thomas Mallon, Forero's attorney, argues in his trial brief (on-line here) that the Atlantic City Police Department's Internal Affairs (IA) process amounts to nothing more than "shallow and superficial Internal Affairs investigations tailored to exonerate officers for their wrongdoing."  In support of his contention, Mallon argues that his examination of IA records provided during discovery revealed that neither the officers nor the complainants were ever interviewed..  Rather, Mallon asserts that the matters were decided after reviewing the officers' and the complainants' written submissions.  In sum, Mallon argues that the inadequacy of Atlantic City's Internal Affairs process "send[s] the message to the members of their department that they will not be disciplined no matter how egregious the violation."  He argues that in the present case, the officers' confidence in not being disciplined or held accountable caused them assault Ferero "while fully aware that they were being recorded by a casino surveillance camera." Mallon states that 1,280 Internal Affairs complaints were filed against Atlantic City police between 2005 and 2010, 509 complaints alleging excessive force.

Photographs showing Forero's alleged injuries, as submitted to the Court, are on-line here.