Update: On May 22, 2018, the City Council of the City of Elizabeth resolved to settle the matter for $30,500.
In his December 4, 2013 lawsuit, Yoni Misael Herrera of Kingston, NY claimed that on January 14, 2012 Elizabeth police officers Robert Cifrodelli and Joseph Aliseo struck him “with their fists, feet and pepper spray” when he attempted to reenter the Coco Bongo Nightclub on North Broad Street after he realized that he left his cell phone inside. In an October 19, 2015 order, Union County Superior Court Judge Thomas J. Walsh stayed Herrera’s excessive force lawsuit pending the outcome of Cifrodelli’s bankruptcy filing.
According to federal court records, Cifrodelli filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition on January 29, 2015 and Herrera filed an adversary proceeding in the bankruptcy court that challenged Cifrodelli’s right to relief under the bankruptcy code. According to Herrera’s adversary complaint, Cifrodelli, who was working “an extra duty shift/detail” for the nightclub, is not allowed to escape financial liability for his “intentional and malicious” alleged assault. On February 8, 2016, the bankruptcy court put Cifrodelli in default for having failed to answer Herrera’s adversary complaint.
According to DataUniverse, Cifrodelli retired from the Elizabeth police department in 2013 at age 46. His final salary was $91,840 and he is collecting a $45,919.80 annual pension. Curiously, Cifrodelli filed a July 29, 2015 application seeking to have the bankruptcy court waive his filing fee due to financial hardship. In the filing, he claimed to have no income and stated that “I am unemployed and have a lot of expenses.” He also reported that his $260,000 residence in Elizabeth is subject to a $290,000 mortgage and that his reported $2,063.11 in monthly “expenses will increase because my home will be foreclosed on and I will need to start paying for rent and utilities.”