On October 22, 2010, the Township of East Brunswick (Middlesex County) agreed to pay $22,500 to a Township police officer who claimed he was retaliated against after speaking out about the East Brunswick Police Department allegedly “engaging in illegal racial profiling” and allowing police officers who drive drunk to drive away without being charged. He also claims to have spoken out about several other safety issues, including officers in patrol cars having loaded shotguns on a rack behind their heads.

In his suit, Joseph Marcantonio, who claims to have a very high success rate in arresting drunk drivers, complained about being regularly scheduled to appear in municipal court at 9 a.m. on the mornings after he completed his shift at 4 a.m. He claims that his supervisors refused to allow him sufficient time to sleep and this resulted in increased blood pressure, sleeping disorders, anxiety and depression.

Named in the suit were East Brunswick Police Director Barry Roberson, Captain Scott Mayer, Lieutenant Alan Quercia and Sergeant George Kaltenbach.

The case is captioned Marcantonio v. East Brunswick, Superior Court Docket No. MID-L-6428-07 and Marcantonio’s attorney was William H. Buckman of Moorestown. Case documents are on-line here.

None of Marcantonio’s allegations have been proven or disproven in court. The settlement agreement resolution expressly states that the $22,500 payment does not constitute an admission of wrongdoing by East Brunswick or any of its officials. All that is known for sure is that East Brunswick or its insurer, for whatever reason, decided that it would rather pay Marcantonio $22,500 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.

Chairman of the New Jersey Libertarian Party's Open Government Advocacy Project. Please send all comments to [email protected]