Shore town pays man $500K to settle excessive force lawsuit

Today’s post was shared by The Workers’ Injury Law & Advocacy Group and comes from www.nj.com

The Seaside Heights boardwalk in a file photo. A Toms River man has settled an excessive force lawsuit against Seaside Heights for $500,000.Andrew Mills/The Star-Ledger 

SEASIDE HEIGHTS — A 48-year-old man who alleged Seaside Heights police officers pepper sprayed him and threw him to the boardwalk has settled an excessive force lawsuit against the borough for $500,000.

None of the police officers named in the suit nor the borough had to admit wrongdoing as part of the settlement, which was reached in August. News of the settlement was first reported by New Jersey Civil Settlements, a blog which tracks settlements paid by New Jersey government agencies and their insurers to those who have sued them.

George Hatze, 48, said a police officer on bicycle patrol bumped into him and his 8-year-old daughter while they were on the boardwalk for a fireworks show on July 4, 2012, according to a report on APP.com.

Shortly after asking officer Robert MacFarlane why he ran into them, other cops arrived and attacked Hatze, the suit alleged. Hatze said he was then sprayed with mace and kneed in the back.

The Toms River man was arrested and charged with aggravated assault, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. Authorities later dropped those charges. Hatze wound up pleading guilty to a municipal ordinance violation, the report said.

Jeff Goldman may be reached at jeff_goldman@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @JGoldmanNJ. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

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