On May 16, 2012, the City of Atlantic City (Atlantic County) agreed to pay $2,500 to a local man who sued members of the Atlantic City Police Department for allegedly assaulting him.

In his suit,Benjamin Demby said that on April 23, 2009, he was at 1401 Memorial Drive, Atlantic City when he was assaulted by Officer Brent Dooley and/or Brian Hambrecht.  The lawsuit is very vague and gives no other information about the alleged assault.

The case is captioned Demby v. Atlantic City, Federal Civil No. 1:11-cv-1881 and Demby’s attorney was Jeffrey M. Sheppard of Absecon.  Case documents are on-line here.

None of Demby’s allegations have been proven or disproven in court. The settlement agreement resolution expressly states that the $2,500 payment does not constitute an admission of wrongdoing by Atlantic City or any of its officials. All that is known for sure is that Atlantic City or its insurer, for whatever reason, decided that it would rather pay Demby $2,500 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]