N.J. pays $425K to settle with brain-injured man beaten by state police

The New Jersey Attorney General’s Office is paying $425,000 to settle a lawsuit by a mentally disabled man who was beaten by state troopers.

 

After police who were searching for burglary suspects in Warren County pulled over the car he was in, Hackettstown resident James Bayliss was punched by troopers in May of 2009.

Bayliss, who had suffered a traumatic brain injury in an earlier accident, and his lawyer says troopers misinterpreted his disability as resisting them.

Attorney Bob Woodruff says the dashboard camera in the state police car showed troopers acted inappropriately.

“But for the video camera my client just would have just been another kid that was stopped by the police,” Woodruff said. “They would have argued that he was assaultive and how was he going to prove his case with six or seven or eight or a dozen police officers standing there?”

The attorney general’s office says the settlement is fair and equitable given the clear violation of its use-of-force policy.

Woodruff said he also has concerns that it took four years to resolve the case.

“I would like to see these things move a little quicker because what you get is a sense that someone is trying to protect somebody, and that’s not good for the general public,” he said. “That’s not good for the public’s understanding and confidence and belief in the police.”

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