Parents of Man Killed During Paterson Auxiliary Police Pursuit Get $1.2M Settlement

Randolph Waddy IV

PATERSON, New Jersey — The City Council on Tuesday approved a $1.2 million settlement in a lawsuit involving the death of a man killed in a motorcycle crash while he was being improperly pursued by auxiliary police officers.

The April 2012 death of Randolph Waddy IV sparked community protests when authorities waited a month before filing any charges in the case. The two auxiliary police officers eventually were convicted of crimes for leaving the scene of the accident and for conducting the pursuit in violation of procedures. Paterson ended up disbanding its auxiliary police force after the incident.

The city will pay $315,316 of the settlement, while its insurance carrier will pick up the rest of the bill, according to the council resolution. The federal lawsuit was filed by the victim’s mother, Francine Warren, and his father, Randolph Waddy III.

“This is just another example of the taxpayers having to pay for people who work for the city not being responsible,” said Councilman Michael Jackson, who represents the 1st Ward, where the incident occurred.

The fatal crash happened on North First Street. The Rev. James Staton, who lives in the area, said he witnessed the pursuit and attended some of the subsequent protest rallies and marches.

“There was a perception that certain things weren’t being done” in the investigation of Waddy’s death, Staton said. “And we wanted justice.”

Staton said he believes that authorities ultimately succeeded in holding the auxiliary police officers accountable. Neither Waddy’s family members nor their lawyers could be reached for comment for this story.

Juan Marinez, the auxiliary officer who was driving during the chase, was convicted of conspiracy to commit official misconduct in January 2015 and sentenced to a maximum five years in prison. State corrections records show that Martinez was released in July 2016 after serving 18 months.

Jonathan Lopez, the officer in the passenger seat, pleaded guilty to hindering prosecution and was sentenced to probation.

At the time of the sentencing, Waddy’s family members said they did not think the penalties were severe enough.

Authorities said the auxiliary officers — unpaid part-timers who did not have full law enforcement powers — violated procedures by using their sirens during the pursuit and were following Waddy’s motorcycle too closely by being less than 100 feet from him. Authorities also said the officers did not report the incident to their superiors.

Councilman Luis Velez said the family initially asked for $11 million in the civil lawsuit.


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Filming Cops
Filming Cops 5618 posts

Filming Cops was started in 2010 as a conglomerative blogging service documenting police abuse. The aim isn’t to demonize the natural concept of security provision as such, but to highlight specific cases of State-monopolized police brutality that are otherwise ignored by traditional media outlets.

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