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ARTICLE ID 192422

DEFENDANT’S Excessive Use of Force – Plaintiff is placed in chokehold and thrown to the ground by defendant officers called to escort plaintiff to ambulance to go to the hospital – Federal and state claims of violations of civil rights – Assault and battery – Black eye – Contusions and swelling.

U.S. District Court - District of New Jersey

In this Civil Rights violation action, the plaintiff maintained that the defendant officers violated the plaintiff’s rights and used excessive force on the plaintiff while attempting to transfer the plaintiff to an ambulance that would take the plaintiff to a hospital. The defendants argued that only the force necessary to restrain the plaintiff was used.

The male plaintiff is a student at the Sequoia Alternative Program located in Tabernacle, New Jersey. He suffers from bipolar disorder and schizoaffective disorder. On November 18, ________, New Jersey State Police Troopers Michael DePinto and Charles Hurley responded to a ________ call from the plaintiff’s school nurse to provide security for a medical assist at Sequoia. The assist was for a student who had possibly over-medicated himself and was irate or belligerent. That student was the plaintiff. The plaintiff had taken a pill that was given to him by another student that was supposed to make the plaintiff feel relaxed, but it made him feel anxious and upset and he went to the nurse.

Upon arriving at the school, the officers informed the plaintiff that he was being taken to the hospital due to a possible drug overdose. The plaintiff became even more upset and asked if he could call his mother. The officers allowed the plaintiff to call his mother and placed him in a chair to do so. While on the phone with his mom, the plaintiff became angry and stood up and threw his phone to the ground. The plaintiff contended that at that point, the defendant officers placed the plaintiff in a chokehold and threw him face first to the ground. As a result, the plaintiff suffered a black eye, choke marks and swelling to the neck and emotional distress.

The plaintiff asserted statutory claims under 42 U.S.C. § ________ and the New Jersey Civil Rights Act, as well as common law claims for assault, battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The defendants denied all allegations of negligence and argued that when the plaintiff reared back to throw his phone, one of the defendants thought the plaintiff was rearing back to swing at or punch the officer. This caused both officers to react as though being threatened and use the force that was necessary to restrain the plaintiff. The defendants argued that the plaintiff was not thrown to the ground, but fell to the ground as he was resisting being restrained by the officers.The jury found that the defendants did not violate the plaintiff’s civil rights.

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