A real estate investor filed a discrimination suit this summer against the City of Plainfield (Union County) based on his November 17, 2013 encounter with police officers Eric Groething and Michael Black. According to the lawsuit, on-line here, Derron Appleton, an African American, just finished a meeting with investors outside a Johnson Avenue property that Appleton and the investors were considering "flipping." After Appleton returned to his car, he said he was confronted by Groething who accused him of "appearing suspicious." Appleton alleged that Groething, without reason, forcefully removed him from his vehicle, slammed him against the car and arrested him for "obstruction of justice and for having a Christmas tree air freshener hanging from his vehicle's rear view mirror." When Appleton appealed to Black to intervene, Black allegedly said "We are the cops. We run sh*t around here."
The lawsuit, Appleton v. City of Plainfield, Docket No. UNN-L-2682-14 was filed on July 29, 2014 by attorney Maged W. Hanna of Scotch Plains.