PLAINFIELD, NJ — Already facing a likely budget shortfall, the City of Plainfield may be on the hook for another $5 million. Attorneys representing Plainfield Councilman Barry Goode have filed a Tort Claims Act Notice on his behalf against the city and two Plainfield police officers, among others, stemming from an incident on December 9, 2017.
According to the notice, obtained by TAPinto Plainfield through an Open Public Records Act request, the claim asserts a warrantless home search, invasion of privacy, filing of false charges, malicious prosecution, violations of the New Jersey Constitution, and the New Jersey Civil Rights Act of 2004.
The claim also asserts the charges "resulted in a prosecution of Mr. Goode, which was pursued despite officers having had no legal basis to enter Mr. Goode's home or charge him with DUI."
According to the December 2017 police report, officers were called to the 900 block of Melrose Place on the night of the incident to investigate a motor vehicle accident involving a possibly intoxicated driver. On the scene, responding officers noted a vehicle parked on the lawn that was missing its front bumper.
The officers, according to the police report, noticed a door to the home that was left wide open with keys still in the exterior lock. The report states that the officers entered the residence, announcing themselves as Plainfield Police, and not knowing who the operator of the motor vehicle was at that point, or whether the homeowner was home and in danger or in need of medical assistance.
Goode's attorneys assert that officers did not call medical personnel before entering and searching his home without a warrant or his consent.
According to the police report, the officers came upon Goode in his home, asking if he was okay. They relayed how they came to be there, and after Goode struggled with some clothing, he was brought outside, with officers questioning him about whether the car on the lawn was his. Due to his behavior, officers felt he was intoxicated.
The police report notes that the Union County Prosecutor's Office was called, in addition to the Plainfield Rescue Squad, but Goode refused medical services. He was then brought to Plainfield Police Headquarters.
Goode, according to the police report, was issued three motor vehicle summonses: driving while intoxicated; refusal to provide a breath sample; and careless driving.
Two days after the incident, Goode attended the City Council meeting, and participated in a vote to raise the salaries of both Mayor Adrian O. Mapp and council members, himself included.
The councilman's case was initially to be heard in Scotch Plains. Postponement after postponement, Goode's case was eventually dismissed this year in late January in Westfield.
The Notice of Tort Claims, filed a week ago by Goode's attorneys, comes on the heels of a vote by the council to accept Mayor Mapp's proposed budget, and is in advance of budget deliberation sessions. The Plainfield Police Department's budget will be presented via video conference on May 6.
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