PATERSON, NJ – The city has agreed to pay $25,000 to owner of a 4th Ward fried chicken restaurant and his son to settle a federal lawsuit they filed against the police department.
The owner, Ajab Gul, alleged that two police officers used excessive force against him, while his son, Sikander Hawa, alleged that he was falsely arrested during an incident in July 2010, according to the lawsuit.
Gul’s New York Fried Chicken sits amid one of Paterson’s worst crime areas, on Rosa Parks Boulevard between Godwin and Hamilton avenues. Just five months before the incident there had been a shooting inside the restaurant.
In the lawsuit, Gul said city police had issued his business three summonses between June 2008 and August 2009 for maintaining a nuisance. But Gul maintained in the suit that he never encouraged anyone to congregate at his business.
On July 25, 2010, Police Officers Wilson Lazu and Robert Hintzen came into the chicken restaurant and ordered all customers to leave, the lawsuit said. The officers then demanded Gul’s driver’s license, the lawsuit said. When Gul opened a door to a foyer, one of the officers grabbed his arm, pushed him up against a foyer wall and took his wallet from his pants, the lawsuit said. The incident was captured on the restaurant’s surveillance camera, the suit says.
Gul then called his sons to the restaurant and when Hawa arrived and asked about a summons, he was handcuffed and placed in a police car, the lawsuit says. While in the patrol car, Hawa said one of the officers said to him, “What are you doing here? You shouldn’t be in this country,’’ according to the lawsuit.
Hawa was charged with disorderly conduct and obstructing a government function, but those charges were eventually dismissed in March 2012, the lawsuit said.