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Some say that New Jersey police departments have issues with excessive force. Naturally, the police must on occasion use force to arrest a suspect. However, when officers go beyond what most would consider a reasonable level of force, they may be crossing the boundary into committing police brutality. The police must be held accountable. Their job is to keep people safe, not cause harm.

Excessive force can occur at anytime during an arrest or while a person is in police custody. Examples of excessive force may include:

  • Use of tasers when suspects are cooperating or subdued
  • Use of mace, Cap-Stun or other chemical agents on subdued suspects
  • Attacks because a suspect was talking back to the police
  • Injuries involving choke-holds that leave a person unconscious
  • Fatal shootings or other actions that cause the death of a suspect

In recent years, there have been numerous charges that New Jersey police used excessive force. For example, in March of 2009, a routine traffic stop of a mentally disabled man turned ugly in Warren County. A police car dashboard video of the incident shows that James Bayliss, then 21 years old, was thrown to the ground and struck repeatedly in the head, although he did not resist officers. After an internal affairs investigation that lasted three years, the results noted that there was "unreasonable use of force...substantiated against two troopers by the Office of Professional Standards."

In another alarming case that took place in 2005 but was only settled in 2012, a Jersey City man whose civil rights were violated received a $185,000 settlement. He needed to undergo multiple surgical procedures due to injuries inflicted during his arrest. Charges against him were dropped.

In yet another incident in Camden, a young working mom who aided an accident victim was pushed to the ground by police, arrested and chained to a restraining bar at the police station for several hours. This happened after she tried to leave to pick up her young daughter at a new school and the police didn't want her to leave. She sued the Union County borough and 23 of its police officers, including the one who wrestled her to the ground. She is all of 100 pounds and less than 5 feet tall, now terrified of police.

Some believe that New Jersey police departments have issues involving excessive force and violation of civil rights. At the same time, victims of police brutality are often intimidated and afraid of retaliation, so they do not report what has happened. Additionally, many victims do not even know that their rights have been violated.

Twelve-thousand complaints of abuse by law enforcement officials are filed with the Justice Department every year, according to the Human Rights Watch organization. Fewer than 50 of those result in a conviction.


Do you think you have been a victim of excessive use of force, had your civil rights violated or suffered police brutality? At the Law Office of Mallon and Tranger, you will find attorneys who will leave no stone unturned in an effort to get justice on your behalf.

Call to arrange a free, private consultation with one of our attorneys at 732-702-0333. You may also contact our Freehold, New Jersey, office online.

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