RARITAN TWP., NJ – A recent TAPinto report that $200,000 was paid to a former township man after he filed a federal suit alleging excessive force by police here prompted a passionate defense of township police by Committeeman Louis Carl Reiner at last night’s Township Committee meeting.

The suit was filed by Dennis Shuman against the township Police Department and several of its officers. It alleged assault and battery; negligence; emotional distress; abuse of process and authority; and civil conspiracy.

Reiner apologized to the police force and to Lt. Benedict Donaruma – who attended the meeting  –  “for the slap in the face they got with this article.”

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Reiner acknowledged that the article “reported the facts very accurately” as they were stated in the suit that claimed “excessive force by our police officers and police department.”

“I think it was an affront, and a total disgrace that our insurance company ended up paying $200,000 to settle a case that should have never been settled,” Reiner said.

“I think it’s quite indicative of weenie attorneys in addition to insurance companies – that we pay good money to – that should litigate these cases, as opposed to making us look stupid and foolish,” he said. “Our police department and our men in blue deserve better, and it’s about time more people say so.

“Lt. Donaruma, your force has the gratitude of this community and it has the gratitude and the thanks of this committeeman.”

Although cautioned by township attorney Jeffrey Lehrer that there may be a confidentiality agreement that might limit Reiner’s ability to comment on the case, Reiner said that he viewed  video of the traffic stop that was part of the suit and “officer Carson acted properly.” The patrol officer asked Shuman to return to his car “three times, if not more,” Reiner said, and he “failed to do so.

“The officer acted well within parameters and did not overstep his bounds,” Reiner said. “And instead of getting kicked in the teeth he ought to be backed by the Township Committee members and this township. We deserve better.”  

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