[WATCH] Toll So Far For Town’s 1 Awful Night: 2 Ousted Cops, $280K And a Lawsuit

MAPLEWOOD, New Jersey — About two-and-a-half minutes of video footage and a smattering of police radio recordings have led to two forced retirements, a $280,000 payout, the impending overhaul of a small New Jersey police department, and a federal lawsuit — all while the investigation of what actually happened when police responded to a group of allegedly rowdy teens after a town-wide fireworks show in Maplewood last Fourth of July weekend, is still ongoing.

In dash cam footage of the police response to the July 5, 2016 incident, officers could be seen kicking and punching teenagers leaving the event, and radio transmissions apparently direct officers to move the teens over the border from Maplewood into neighboring Irvington.

Residents alleged the police used excessive force that night, and racially discriminated against the teens, assuming, because many were black, they were from Irvington, a town with a significantly higher African-American population.

The fallout from the incident, and those allegations, is continuing.

Police chief pushed out:

Maplewood Mayor Vic DeLuca last week announced the details of an agreement reached with Police Chief Robert Cimino, who was suspended after the videos were released. The settlement, DeLuca said, will see Cimino out of the department, but with a nearly $280,000 payout.

According to DeLuca, Cimino will remain on paid administrative leave until Dec. 31, and retire as of Jan. 1. The township will pay Cimino $49,479.85 in unused sick, vacation, and personal days, and $115,000 in both 2018 and 2019. It’ll also pay out $15,000 to Cimino’s attorney.

The chief will also get a letter from the town saying he served the police department with “dedication and professionalism” for 36 years, and another acknowledging he never had any formal disciplinary action taken against him during his tenure as chief.

In exchange, the chief agreed to never sue the town.

Police Chief Robert Cimino.

In his release about the agreement, DeLuca noted a prior Essex County Prosecutor’s investigation into the incident that did not find enough evidence to charge Cimino or any of the other officers involved. An internal town investigation of the incident is still ongoing.

“Faced with the prospects of extended and costly administrative and legal proceedings regarding this matter and a legal assessment which concluded there would be little likelihood of success in such proceedings, the township committee has reluctantly deemed it to be in the best interest of the township to enter into this settlement,” the statement read.

“The settlement will successfully achieve the township committee’s overriding goal of not having Mr. Cimino return to his post as chief of the Maplewood Police Department.”

Maplewood residents march against police brutality outside an August meeting where they called for the firing of Police Chief Robert Cimino

In a statement to NJ Advance Media, Cimino’s attorney, Jeffrey Garrigan confirmed the details of the settlement noting that Cimino, “…has never been charged with, let alone found guilty of, any violation of law, rule, or regulation…This is because Chief Cimino has violated no laws, rules, or regulations, despite insinuation otherwise.”

“Chief Cimino is a highly respected law enforcement professional who successfully implemented effective programs of crime control, community policing, and technological advancement. He is proud of his successful efforts to broaden the diversity of the Maplewood Police Department. Chief Cimino is the recipient of numerous awards and acknowledgements for his professionalism and service.”

In the statement, he also thanks citizens, colleagues, family, and friends for their support “throughout his career and during recent events.”

For the full article visit: http://www.nj.com/essex/index.ssf/2017/10/maplewood_fireworks_outcomes.html#incart_2box_nj-homepage-featured