Sunday, February 28, 2016

Harvey Cedars pays $22,000 to resolve police excessive force lawsuit.

In January 2016, the Borough of Harvey Cedars (Ocean County) agreed to pay $22,000 to a Barnegat man who claimed that Borough police fractured his arm while attempting to handcuff him.

In his complaint, Zachary A. Rohan said that he was at a concert on July 20, 2011 when other concert goers picked him up and tossed him around causing him to become disoriented.  His disorientation reportedly caused Officer Brian Smith and other unnamed officers to handcuff him.  During the handcuffing, Rohan claimed that his left arm was struck "with either an object or body part" causing it to break.

The case is captioned Rohan v. Borough of Harvey Cedars, et al, Federal Case No. 3:13-cv-0455 and Rohan's attorney was Gregg L. Zeff of Mount Laurel.  Case documents are on-line here.

None of Rohan's allegations have been proven or disproven in court. All that is known for sure is that Harvey Cedars or its insurer, for whatever reason, decided that it would rather pay Rohan $22,000 than take the matter to trial. Perhaps the defendants' decision 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 resolve before trial--it is impossible to know the truth of what really happened.