NJ County Settles Police Brutality Case for $10M
In what is supposedly New Jersey’s largest-ever settlement for a police excessive force case, Camden County’s insurance carrier has agreed to pay $10 million to a paralyzed city man who gets round-the-clock nursing home care.
The out-of-court settlement for 28-year-old Xavier Ingram – injured in a 2014 encounter with county metro cops – must be approved by U.S. District Chief Judge Juan Sanchez, who presided over Ingram’s month-long civil case that got declared a mistrial in March due to a hung jury.
This deal riled Camden County officials who are in complete disagreement, said spokesman Dan Keashen, explaining “the insurance carrier (is) making a business decision and forcing the hand of Camden County.”
“We will be settling the case with Mr. Ingram, (but) we do not believe this is the right decision,” said Keashen. The county “maintain(s) no wrongdoing took place. It is not liable for any of the actions and circumstances,” he added.
Ingram’s injuries, his federal lawsuit and this settlement all stem from Ingram’s 2014 run-in with three metro police officers on a rainy June 12 night, after they chased him on foot in connection with an outstanding warrant and driving infractions.
While trying to elude police, Ingram, then 20, tripped and fell on South 7th Street in the city’s Bergen Square neighborhood. According to his lawsuit, that is when Officer Jeremy Merck allegedly stepped on and broke Ingram’s neck, leaving him completely paralyzed.
His lawsuit alleges two other officers, Nicholas Marchiafava and Antonio Gennetta, assaulted him after his injury and did not provide appropriate medical care.
Ingram’s attorney, Beth G. Baldinger of Roseland, compared this incident to the 2020 death of George Floyd in Minneapolis which triggered nationwide protests against police brutality. “This was George Floyd’s circumstances years before George Floyd,” Baldinger has publicly said.
Once in custody and hospitalized, police alleged that Ingram was in possession of heroin and a handgun. But, all criminal charges against Ingram were finally dropped after Baldinger introduced evidence during this year’s trial suggesting evidence got planted.
Merck is no longer with the police force. Marchiafava and Gennetta, both hired in January 2014, are still county cops. Marchiafava is paid $108,086; Gennetta, $77,556, according to 2021 state payroll records.
Ingram, a father of four, has been living for years at the Hammonton Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing, where he receives round-the-clock medical care. Baldinger said the settlement may enable him to move into a home and pay for his healthcare needs.
See the original article here: https://www.tapinto.net/towns/camden/sections/law-and-justice/articles/county-settles-brutality-case-for-10m
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