Categories
Random Notes on NJ Government

Clayton police officer fired for “dropping body weight on handcuffed suspect” sues for reinstatement. Suspect also sues Clayton for civil rights violation.

In a February 18, 2020 lawsuit, filed in Gloucester County Superior Court, former Clayton Borough (Gloucester County NJ) patrolman Eduardo Diaz claimed that the Borough Council’s February 13, 2020 decision to fire him “was excessive and unjustified” and based on a disciplinary hearing officer’s findings that were “against the weight of the evidence and [which] should be overturned for a lack of evidence.”

The police department’s “Preliminary Notice & Complaint” (attached as an exhibit to Diaz’s lawsuit) charged Diaz with applying excessive force against Richard Rolle during his March 25, 2018 arrest. According to the complaint, Diaz struck Rolle and “dropp[ed] his body weight on [him] after he had been handcuffed.” The 13-count complaint also charged Diaz with using “unprofessional speech” by allegedly telling Rolle that if “you wanna run, and fight this is what the f**k you get.” Rolle, according to the complaint, “may have been trying to move because he was unable to breath [sic] caused by positional affixiation [sic] or another medical condition.”

Rolle also filed suit against Clayton and its police department on March 20, 2020. In his lawsuit, he alleged that on March 25, 2018 he was driving on South Delsea Drive near Hickory Lane when his car was pulled over by Special Officer James D. Langlois. Diaz later arrived at the scene to assist. Rolle claimed that while Langlois was speaking to him, he “exited his vehicle and fled on foot into a corn field across from the vehicle stop.” He claimed that both Langlois and Diaz chased after him and brutally beat him. He claimed to have suffered a fractured vertebrae, fractured rib and fractured eye orbital.”

A case management conference on Diaz’s case is scheduled for April 8, 2020 before Judge Benjamin C. Telsey in Woodbury.

By John Paff

Chairman of the New Jersey Libertarian Party's Open Government Advocacy Project