Law & Justice

Man Alleges New Brunswick Cops Beat Him, Waited Hours to Call for Medical Care


NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ — A man who was arrested by city police in December 2015 has filed a civil complaint against two officers, the city, the police department and others, alleging police broke his ribs, punctured a lung and waited for hours to get him medical treatment.

Attorneys for New Brunswick and its police officers, meanwhile, have submitted subsequent court documents denying any wrongdoing.

The nine-count lawsuit, filed by city resident Dion Napier in United States District Court in June, seeks an unspecified monetary award for the alleged mistreatment, along with the reimbursement of attorneys' fees, according to a copy of the document obtained by TAPinto New Brunswick.

Sign Up for E-News

In the complaint, Napier claims he was wrongfully arrested and imprisoned on Dec. 8, 2015, after being punched, kneed and pepper-sprayed by two New Brunswick police officers, Jonathan Rivera and Michael Powers. The complaint also claims that as many as 10 unnamed cops allowed Napier to sit in a holding cell for four hours, “writhing in pain,” before being taken to the hospital, where he underwent emergency surgery.

Further, Napier's complaint claims, the city, its police force and Police Director Anthony Caputo enabled the alleged incident to occur due to improper training and policies or practices, which created a culture that allowed excessive force and the violation of rights.

“The plaintiff has sustained permanent physical and psychological trauma, has suffered great pain and discomfort and continues to experience physical and psychological damage,” reads the complaint, referencing the arrest's alleged effects on Napier.

Shortly after the incident, residents took to City Hall to voice their concerns about the police department's alleged treatment of Napier, according to a story by New Brunswick Today.

The city and its police department have strongly rejected any claims of police brutality resulting from the Napier arrest. City officials, however, declined to comment on pending litigation when asked today by TAPinto New Brunswick.

But in his defense against the civil complaint, Rivera—one of two arresting officers—claimed that Napier handed him a bag of marijuana after police noticed a “faint smell” of the drug coming from the car he was in. Then, Rivera claimed, Napier took off running, and police chased him down.

The police officer claimed that Napier was found guilty of the criminal charges that “were the basis” of his arrest.

Each defendant denied each allegation raised by Napier—from stomping on his constitutional rights and using excessive force to directly causing his injuries.

But Napier offered a different story in his complaint.

In that document, Napier didn't admit any wrongdoing—only that police claimed he had weed. What's more, the complaint claims, Napier was sitting in a friend's car near D'Palace Bar on Throop Avenue, eating food and “not engaged in any criminal activity” at the time of the incident.

Rivera and Powers pulled behind Napier and gave him a warning for tinted windows, even though he didn't own the vehicle, the complaint alleges. They soon returned and said they heard there was an arrest warrant out for Napier, which he claimed was for a different person with a similar name, the document alleges.

Eventually, Napier “became nervous” due to the officers' behavior and ran, the complaint claims. Rivera and Powers eventually caught up with him and “engaged in unreasonable and excessive force,” breaking his ribs, puncturing his lung, causing bruises and lacerations and burning his eyes and skin, the complaint alleges.

The cops brought Napier to police headquarters, the complaint alleges, where he waited in a cell and complained about his injuries. But no one in the building offered to get him medical care for hours, the document alleges.

When he finally did receive treatment, the wait had allegedly exacerbated his injuries, the document claims. Then he underwent surgery to repair his lung, according to the complaint.

Napier claims that the conduct and actions of the police officers and the department were intentional, reckless, malicious and with disregard for his rights and welfare. What's more, he claims, this type of behavior is institutional and endangers the public at large.

Napier's looking for a jury trial, compensatory and punitive damages, attorney's fees and any other relief deemed appropriate.

While the defendants haven't admitted in court papers to any physical contact, they have argued that any injuries or damages to Napier were caused by someone “presently unknown” to the defendants or Napier himself.

“The intentional, unlawful and criminal conduct of the plaintiff is the direct and proximate cause of his damages, if any,” an attorney for Rivera wrote in his response to the complaint.

Altogether, in writing, the city and its employees have offered up more than 100 separate defenses to the claims made by Napier. They also claimed that Napier filed the lawsuit in bad faith and should be forced to pay their attorneys' fees.

The city government has agreed to pay the legal fees for the affected employees.

Napier, meanwhile, claims that the alleged “battery” against him has caused suffering, emotional distress, humiliation and even a loss of income.

Judge Tonianne J. Bongiovanni has ordered all parties to appear for a scheduling conference at 3 p.m. Aug. 21 at the U.S. Courthouse in Trenton.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


Upcoming Events


Tue, March 20, 4:00 PM

Hannah Atkins Community Center, Plainfield

Homework Helper



Wed, March 21, 2:00 PM

South Plainfield

Holy Savior Academy's 4th Annual Spring Splendor ...


Wed, March 21, 4:00 PM

Hannah Atkins Community Center, Plainfield

Homework Helper


Pre-Ticket Sale for Holy Savior Academy’s 4th Annual Spring Splendor Tricky Tray

Holy Savior Academy is hosting its Spring Splendor Tricky Tray Saturday, April 21, 2018 at the school.  Doors open at 6:00 p.m.

Tickets are limited and will be sold at Holy Savior Academy, 149 South Plainfield Avenue, South Plainfield on Wednesday, March 21, 2018 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. (cash or checks)

BYOB and food- Admission $ 25 per ...

Registration is Now Open for Horse Care Workshop Beginning 3/31

March 19, 2018

BASKING RIDGE, N.J. — Somerset County Park Commission Lord Stirling Stable is offering Horse Care Workshop 101 for adults and youth seeking to gain experience and confidence around horses through a combination of non-riding activities and hands-on practice.

Horse Care Workshop 101 will be held at Lord Stirling Stable, 256 South Maple Avenue in Basking Ridge, NJ beginning Saturday March ...


March 17, 2018

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 16, 2018 – Despite her rhetoric, U.S. Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, D-12, failed Wednesday to deliver on her promise to make schools safer for our children.

The two-term congressperson was one of only 10 representatives that voted “nay” Wednesday afternoon on the STOP School Violence Act of 2018.

The bill passed the U.S. House of Representatives on a ...

Former Rumson High School Student, 19, Arrested Possessing MSR-15 Patrol Rifle, Silencer, Explosive Chemicals

March 19, 2018

MONMOUTH, N.J. -  A former Rumson high school student was arrested in Ithaca New York. Maximilien R. Reynolds, 19, was charged with Possession of an Unregistered Destructive Device/Silencer, False Statement in Acquisition of a Firearm and False Statement in Required Firearm Record. Specifically, he is alleged to have possessed an MSR-15 Patrol Rifle, 300 rounds ...

La tienda de comestibles Canela de Plainfield acogerá el evento de la tienda Healthy Corner

March 19, 2018

PLAINFIELD, NJ - EZ Ride y la ciudad de Plainfield se han asociado una vez más con Canela Grocery and Deli para organizar un evento gratuito para los residentes que ofrece muestras gratis de bocadillos saludables, cupones, una rifa saludable de canastas e información nutricional. Atlantic Health también estará en el evento con una unidad móvil para proporcionar ...

Celebrando el Mes de la Historia de la Mujer

PLAINFIELD, NJ - Estimados Plainfield,

Yo fui criado por dos mujeres poderosas e generosas, y me pasaron principios y valores que me han guiado durante mi vida entera. Mi mama persiguió la oportunidad y busco una manera de proveer para su familia. Ella dejo la isla de Barbados para poder trabajar en los hogares de los Estados Unidos, creando e allanando un camino para que sus hijos lo ...

Innovador Plainfield

Estimados Plainfield,


El crecimiento requiere evolución, la evolución implica cambio, y el cambio conduce a la innovación. Plainfield está evolucionando. Nos estamos adaptando para cumplir con los requisitos del renacimiento que está formando el futuro. No podemos esperar cambio positivo y sostenible si continuamos con el mismo ritmo de las ...

Distrito escolar de Plainfield anuncia ganadores de Feria de las Ciencias

PLAINFIELD, NJ - La Oficina de Tecnología, Ciencias e Instrucción de las Escuelas Públicas de Plainfield anunció a los ganadores de la Feria de Ciencias 2018, en una recepción celebrada el jueves 1 de marzo de 2018 en la Escuela Primaria Clinton.

Veintiocho de los 178 estudiantes en grados 4-12 recibieron los máximos honores después de presentar ...

'Trying' explores age, youth and points of history in poignant production

‘Trying’ explores youth, age and points of history in poignant production

By Liz Keill

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ – The George Street Playhouse presents an engrossing, two-character play based on the real life of Francis Biddle, former Attorney General.

Biddle, a Harvard educated lawyer, served under Franklin Roosevelt and later Harry Truman during the Nuremberg Tribunal. His ...

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote (Random House, 1965)


In Cold Blood is, quite simply, the grand-daddy of true crime writing, dubbed by Capote, himself, as the first non-fiction novel (although Norman Mailer argued the point when he published The Executioner's Song in 1979.) The conditions under which I read In Cold Blood for the first time were pretty weird, which was another ...

Ian Hockley Visits New Jersey to Introduce Program to Empower Youth

This week I am taking a departure from book reviewing to share an important program that has been introduced to New Jersey this week by Mr. Ian Hockley, founder of the Dylan's Wings of Change Foundation. On December 14, 2012, Hockley's five year old son, an autistic child named Dylan, was gunned down in his classroom in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. Dylan, a shy and adorable ...

Lilli DeJong by Janet Benton

Lilli De Jong by Janet Benton (Doubleday, 2017)


“It's said that every woman's painful labor is God's punishment. Eve ate an apple, and God pours wrath on every mother. So the Bible tells it.” (p.320)

The story of Eve and the serpent in the Garden of Eden, which is the Biblical explanation for the extreme pains of childbirth, casts women in the role of ...

Prayers the Devil Answers by Sharyn McCrumb

Prayers the Devil Answers by Sharyn McCrumb (Altria, 2015)


Years later, after the tragedy, someone remembered the Dumb Supper and what had happened there. That was the cause of it, they said, because the ritual wasn't a game after all. It really was magic, but magic has rules, and she broke them. Even when they call it a 'senseless tragedy,' people always try to find a ...

Super Carb Diet by Bob Harper

Super Carb Diet by Bob Harper with Danny Pellegrino (St. Martin's Press, 2017)

It's hard to go on a serious diet, one on which you expect to be successful and maintain a loss. Fortunately, in his new book Super Carb Diet, Bob Harper has given the weight watching world a sensible new diet plan to help achieve a healthy weight.

Harper, host of NBC's popular show The Biggest Loser, ...

Two Nights by Kathy Reichs

Two Nights by Kathy Reichs (Bantom,2017)

How does a writer of a beloved series like Harry Potter or Temperance Brennan break out of their readers' expectations and try something new? For J.K. Rowlings it was the novels penned under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith; books about a maimed and very flawed private detective with the unlikely name of Cormoran Strike. For Kathy Reichs, it is the ...