Police & Fire

Promised Police Brutality Lawsuit Still Not Filed

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MAPLEWOOD, NJ - It has been nearly four weeks since the attorney for a local Maplewood teen accusing the police department of abusing him during the July 5, 2016, incidents announced plans for a federal lawsuit against the cops.

But as of last Friday, no such lawsuit has been filed in either state or federal courts for Jason McDougall, 17, of Maplewood who claimed he was maced, body-slammed and kicked in the head by police that night. McDougall was 16 when the incident caught on video occurred.

The July 5, 2016 incidents, which followed that night’s fireworks display at Memorial Park, sparked outrage by many residents who objected to the brutal force used by many officers, much of which was caught on video and audio released by the township last month.

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The incidents resulted in the Township Committee (TC) placing former Police Chief Robert Cimino and former Police Capt. Joshua Cummis on leave. The TC also voted to request Cimino’s resignation

Cummis recently retired, while Cimino’s fate remains unknown.

Six officers were also disciplined for their part in the evening’s actions, including one for 20 days, according to police. An outside consultant hired to review police policies is still investigating.

McDougall’s attorney, Robert Tarver, drew attention to his client during an August 16 press conference in which he said a federal lawsuit was planned. Several news outlets, including WPIX in New York, incorrectly reported that the lawsuit had already been filed.

Contacted by TAPinto SOMA two days later, Tarver said the lawsuit had yet to be filed, but would be soon. As of last Friday it had not been filed in either U.S. Federal Court in New Jersey or Superior Court of Essex County. 

Tarver has not responded to several inquiries about the suit’s status or requests for a copy of the legal action. McDougall has also been unreachable for comment.

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