Bloomfield Pays $1.6 Million To Settle Federal Civil Rights Lawsuit Filed By Motorist in Dash Cam Case

Six years after Marcus Jeter was beaten by a number of Bloomfield Township police officers during a violent traffic stop — caught on officers’ dashboard cameras — Bloomfield Township has agreed to pay Jeter $1.6 million in exchange for Jeter dismissing his lawsuit.

Jeter filed his lawsuit in June 2014, alleging that Bloomfield Township, its police department, and at least 10 of its police officers violated his civil rights when they beat him and wrongfully arrested him during a traffic stop on June 7, 2012. After being arrested — and based on the police reports written by a number of Bloomfield police officers concerning the traffic stop and subsequent arrest — Jeter was charged with and subsequently indicted on eluding police, resisting arrest, and assaulting a police officer and faced at least five years in prison.

When dashboard video from the officers’ vehicles was made public as a result of a New Jersey open records request by Jeter’s criminal defense attorney Stephen Brown, prosecutors dropped the charges against Jeter. The video — which Jeter alleged was withheld for almost a year by Bloomfield Township — contradicted much of what was written in police reports concerning Jeter’s arrest. The release of the video led to prosecutors charging three of the arresting police officers with a number of crimes in connection with the arrest. Two officers, Sean Courter and Orlando Trinidad were convicted by a jury in November 2015 of official misconduct and related charges for submitting false police reports about Jeter’s arrest. They were sentenced to five years in prison. A third officer involved in the arrest pleaded guilty in October 2013 to tampering with records.

“The events of that night in June 2012 have fundamentally affected me and my view of the world,” said Jeter. “While I still struggle with anxiety whenever I see a police car or see instances of police brutality on the news, I am grateful to close this chapter and can hopefully continue on my path of getting my life back in order. I hope that my ordeal sheds light on this kind of unlawful conduct by law enforcement officers and empowers other people falsely accused of crimes and prosecutors to take a public stand against such conduct.”

Jeter’s lawsuit alleged that the officers used unreasonable and excessive force, falsely arrested and imprisoned him, showed a deliberate indifference to his medical needs after the traffic stop, discriminated against him based on his race, engaged in a conspiracy to violate his civil rights, committed assault and battery against him, maliciously prosecuted him, and negligently and intentionally inflicted emotional distress on him.

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