Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Edison pays $27,500 to settle police excessive force and malicious prosecution suit

On July 16, 2012, the Township of Edison (Middlesex County) agreed to pay $27,500 to a  man who sued members of the Edison Police Department for allegedly beating him and maliciously prosecuting him.

In his suit, Taleb Ahmed said that on September 11, 2007 he "was falsely arrested, violently assaulted and brutally beaten, hit with a weapon, pushed into the ground, and held in jail by" Edison police officers Theodore Hamer, Michael Dotro, Peter Conforte and Sergeant Jason Gerba.  He claims that he was charged with obstruction of justice and resisting arrest, but that the Grand Jury returned a "no bill" when the Township sought an indictment against him.

The case is captioned Ahmed v. Edison, Federal Case No. 2:08-cv-00066 and Ahmed's attorney was Nicholas Martino of Marlboro.  Case documents are on-line here.

None of Ahmed's allegations have been proven or disproven in court. The settlement agreement resolution expressly states that the $27,500 payment does not constitute an admission of wrongdoing by Edison or any of its officials. All that is known for sure is that Edison or its insurer, for whatever reason, decided that it would rather pay Ahmed $27,500 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.