A two-year media investigation displays the blurred lines between police brutality and appropriate use of force in New Jersey. Within the last decade, nearly 20 wrongful death claims by the police were filed, and many of the excessive force cases ended up in settlements that cost taxpayers millions of dollars without jury decisions. Although the State Supreme Court permits the public to view excessive force case documentation, data is not tracked, and they cannot guarantee accessibility or accuracy. Some prosecutor’s offices including Union County’s may require a hefty fee before access is granted. Furthermore, no established agency exists to locate rogue officers.
Since 2010, New Jersey police encounters resulted in fatalities for over 50 victims who allegedly attacked the police. Officers claim that injuries and fatalities are an unfortunate outcome of the work. Collected video surveillance, though, shows that abuse may be a common practice among the police. The Keith Briscoe case is an example where excessive force used by the police resulted in a fatality. In Winslow Township, New Jersey, in 2010, Officer Sean Richards approached Keith Briscoe at a convenience store, which devolved into a dispute, and ended up with Briscoe becoming fatally asphyxiated after the officer and a colleague tried to physically control him. Ultimately, Richards was charged with simple assault akin to a disorderly conduct offense and promised to never work in public safety again although he currently works as a firefighter and fire commissioner.
If you believe you or a loved one is a victim of police brutality, contact our New Jersey civil rights lawyers at Williams Cedar at 215-557-0099, or contact us online to schedule a consultation today.