201705.10
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$243k Settlement in NJ Police Brutality Case

May 10, 2017

Bloomfield Township, NJ agreed to pay a settlement of $243,250 to a man who says he nearly lost his ear during an arrest in April 2017.

His complaint, available for public review at the NJ Civil Settlements blog, alleges that Rodolfo Crespo was arrested on drug-related charges on March 5, 2013. He was then taken to police headquarters where he was reportedly assaulted by officers Orlando Trinidad and Jennifer P. Horn. Upon requesting a phone call, Trinidad grabbed Crespo by the throat, threw him on the floor and placed his knee on Crespo’s back while he and Horn took turns dealing blows to him. They allegedly used force so excessive, they “practically ripped [his ear] from his head.” Instead of providing first aid, Crespo’s complaint claims the officers tried to cover up the incident altogether.

The lawsuit names several other officers reportedly involved in conspiring to cover up the alleged incident and also states that Crespo’s incident report did not even mention the assault or his injuries. He was eventually taken to the hospital for treatment, where he suffered bruises, trauma to his head and a seriously cut and injured right ear.

This lawsuit is the latest in a series of problems for the department plagued by problems in recent years. Most relevant is a separate incident in which Trinidad was also convicted of assaulting another man during a 2012 arrest on Garden State Parkway. He falsified police reports about the case and was eventually sentenced to five years in prison for his involvement.

In accordance with the settlement’s confidentiality clause, Crespo was not allowed to disclose details of the case with any third parties. However, according to the NJ Civil Settlements blog, if a government agency is involved in the settlement, the facts of the case are a matter of public record.

None of Crespo’s allegations have been proven or disproven in court.

In the political climate of 2017 and beyond, police brutality has come to the forefront of the legal arena. If you or a loved one has suffered at the hands of those who have been sworn to protect you, contact our firm for further information about your rights.

Larry Bellomo is a Family Law and Bankruptcy attorney practicing in Orange County, California.