Excessive Force Claim Against Atlantic City Police Officers to go to Trial Tuesday

New Jersey – A lawsuit claiming excessive use of force by three officers from the Atlantic City Police Department will go to trial Tuesday in Camden Federal Court.

The lawsuit revolves around the 2013 criminal case against Atlantic County resident Steven Stadler, who was beaten by police after trying to rob a car wash in Atlantic City and resisting arrest.

A spokesman for the Atlantic City Police Department said he could not comment on pending civil litigation, but added two of the officers are still with the department while another one is now retired.

The names of the officers are being withheld in this report.

A call to the Atlantic City Solicitor’s Office was not returned Friday evening.

On March 13, 2013, Stadler broke into a closed car wash on Albany Avenue in Atlantic City and tried to pry open a lockbox with a flat-head screwdriver. While trying to pry open the box, an officer from the Atlantic City Police Department, who was not wearing his police uniform or badge, pulled up in an unmarked SUV and asked Stadler what he was doing.

Stadler responded to the officer that it was “none of your business,” and when the officer jumped out of the car, Stadler ran away down an adjacent alley across from the Homerun Tavern, according to the lawsuit.

According to the lawsuit, police had been on alert in that area because the car wash had been burglarized before.

Soon after running away, Stadler walked back onto Albany Avenue and was stopped by an on-duty police officer, who told him to put his hands on the hood of the car. After putting his hands on the car, Stadler was handcuffed and then claims the unmarked police officer walked up and punched him in the face.

Stadler also claims in the lawsuit the two officers punched and kicked him repeatedly until he lost consciousness, while a third officer arrived and let a police K-9 loose on him.

After the alleged beating, Stadler was taken to the hospital, where he says the three officers continued to taunt and laugh at him while he was lying in a hospital bed.

He was then taken to the Atlantic County jail, where his wounds reopened and began bleeding again. He took a plea deal on charges of burglary and resisting arrest, and now claims to have permanent nerve damage, permanent scarring and a “hole in his leg” from the incident, according to the lawsuit.

Attorneys for Stadler believe the trial will last about 5 to 6 weeks unless a settlement can be reached.

Throughout the trial, his attorneys will try to prove the Atlantic City Police Department “has formally adopted a policy of allowing police officers to conduct arrests with the use of illegal and excessive force, thus creating an atmosphere where unconstitutional behavior of police officers is tolerated, condoned, and ratified,” according to the lawsuit.

They will also allege and try to prove the department fails to discipline officers for use of excessive force and that the city allows this to happen.

Stadler is seeking monetary damages as a result of his injuries.

Source: http://www.pressofatlanticcity.com/news/excessive-force-claim-against-atlantic-city-police-officers-to-go/article_28c70513-703a-5870-ad83-5e44148d13d0.html