PAPPAS v. ZACAMY et al
OPINION. Signed by Judge Noel L. Hillman on 9/19/2014. (dmr)
NOT FOR PUBLICATION
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY
LEONARD ZACAMY, et al.,
Civil Action No. 10-3327(NLH)
Andrew W. Cole, Esq.
516 South 44th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Counsel for Plaintiff
Dean R. Wittman, Esq.
Zeller & Wieliczko LLP
120 Haddontowne Court
Cherry Hill, NJ 08034
Counsel for Defendants Leonard Zacamy and Haddon Township
HILLMAN, District Judge
This matter is presently before the Court pursuant to the
submission of a Motion  for summary judgment by the only
remaining Defendants, Haddon Township and Leonard Zacamy.
For the reasons stated below, the Motion will be granted in
part and denied in part.
This matter was originally opened to the Court by Plaintiff
Nicholas Pappas’s submission of a Complaint  asserting
various civil rights claims arising out of his arrest on July
Briefly, Plaintiff asserted that at the end of a
short car pursuit by police, he lost control of the car he was
driving and hit a van and then a bus.
Plaintiff alleged that he
could not exit the vehicle through the driver’s side door, so he
climbed out the sun-roof of the vehicle.
asserts that as soon as he was out of the vehicle and on the
ground, he immediately complied with the order from Officer
Leonard Zacamy to raise his hands in the air.
Plaintiff, he was standing immediately in front of the bus at
He contends that Officer Zacamy then came up behind
him, choked him, punched him, and slammed him into the concrete,
even though he did not resist Officer Zacamy in any way.
Plaintiff contends that Officer Zacamy punched him in the face
repeatedly and continued to beat him even after he was cuffed.
Plaintiff stated that he never ran from the site or resisted
arrest in any way.
Plaintiff asserted claims for excessive use of force in
arrest under the Fourth Amendment, cruel and unusual punishment
under the Eighth Amendment and for due process violations under
the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment.
Plaintiff named as
Defendants Officer Zacamy of the Haddon Township Police
Department, Officer George Tagmire of the Haddon Township Police
Department, Charles Jackson of the Haddon Township Police
Department, 1 Haddon Township, 2 and Officer Robert Kraft of the
Gloucester City Police Department.
He sought all appropriate
By Stipulation  of the parties, Defendants Robert
Kraft, George Tagmire, and Charles Jackson were voluntarily
dismissed without prejudice from this action pursuant to Rule
41(a)(1)(A)(ii) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
Discovery has concluded and the remaining defendants, Haddon
Township and Officer Zacamy, have filed this pending Motion for
Officer Zacamy asserts that he used an
objectively reasonable amount of force in arresting Plaintiff
and that he is entitled to qualified immunity.
argues that Plaintiff has failed to present evidence of a policy
or custom that would subject it to liability for Officer
Zacamy’s actions. 3
George Tagmire and Charles Jackson were alleged to be
The claim against Haddon Township was originally pled
improperly as against the Haddon Township Police Department.
In addition, the Defendants assert that Plaintiff’s claims
under the Fifth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments fail as a
matter of law because any claim based on the amount of force
used in connection with an arrest arises solely under the Fourth
Amendment proscription against unreasonable searches and
seizures. Plaintiff agrees and has stated that he has no
objection to dismissal of those claims. (Plaintiff’s Brief in
Opposition at 20, Docket Entry No. 91.)
In support of the Motion for Summary Judgment, Defendants
have submitted a Statement of Material Facts Not in Dispute,
(Motion, Statement of Material Facts Not in Dispute, Document
89-9), to which Plaintiff has responded, (Plaintiff’s Statement
in Response to Defendants’ Statement of Undisputed Facts,
Document No. 91-2).
Accordingly, except as specifically noted,
the following facts are not in dispute.
On July 15, 2008, between 11:30 a.m. and noon, Plaintiff
drove to Camden, New Jersey, where he purchased twelve bags of
As Plaintiff then drove through Haddon Township, he had
on his person the twelve bags of heroin and a packet of several
While driving through Haddon Township, Plaintiff
observed a marked police vehicle following the vehicle he was
The marked police vehicle was being driven by
Defendant Officer Leonard Zacamy, who observed Plaintiff’s
vehicle run a red light and almost hit another vehicle at
approximately 2:54 p.m.
Officer Zacamy then activated his
emergency lights and began to pursue the vehicle driven by
Initially, Plaintiff did stop his vehicle.
Officer Zacamy approached his vehicle on foot, Plaintiff sped
Officer Zacamy then returned to his vehicle and chased
Plaintiff’s vehicle again.
There is some dispute as to the
length of the chase, which may have extended for as much as two
miles at speeds up to 40 or 50 miles an hour.
The parties are
in agreement, though, that the vehicle chase lasted no more than
The chase ended when Plaintiff’s vehicle struck a
van and then a New Jersey Transit bus.
The parties are not in
agreement as to what transpired next.
They have presented
several deposition transcripts providing different versions of
the incident, as well as other evidence.
Plaintiff stated at deposition that he exited his vehicle
through the T-top, as soon as it came to a stop, because he
didn’t know what was going on.
He stated that he went in front
of the bus, a matter of five to ten feet, and that Officer
Zacamy was already there, with his weapon drawn, telling
Plaintiff to “freeze,” to put his hands on his head, and to wait
for Officer Zacamy’s next command.
Plaintiff stated that he
complied with that order, but that Officer Zacamy came up behind
him, hit him and knocked him to the ground, and began repeatedly
punching him in the face, even after he was handcuffed.
According to Plaintiff, he never attempted to flee the scene.
He has stated that he had some heroin in a cigarette packet in
his pocket and he had a wrapped pack of four empty syringes in
his hand when he exited the vehicle.
When Officer Zacamy told
Plaintiff to “drop everything,” Plaintiff threw the pack of
syringes on the ground in front of him.
Opposition, Ex. A, Plaintiff’s Deposition at 18-19, 24-36.)
Plaintiff further testified at his deposition that people at the
scene were yelling at Officer Zacamy to stop hitting him.
However, no witness statements were taken from the driver or
passengers on the bus.
(Pl. Dep. at 36.)
Plaintiff was taken
to the hospital where he was subjected to a number of tests and
treatments totaling over $34,000 in costs, and was told that he
had several broken bones in the right side of his face.
addition, his dentures were broken.
He remained in the hospital
Plaintiff testified that his whole face was still
bruised and swollen the next day and that he had trouble eating.
In addition, Plaintiff testified that he was to be transported
to another facility the next day and that the transporting
officers insisted that photographs be taken of Plaintiff before
transporting him, as they did not want any later suggestion that
they were responsible for his injuries.
(Pl. Dep. at 37, 42-
While incarcerated, Plaintiff received pain medication and
was, for an unspecified period of time, placed on a diet of soft
(Pl. Dep. at 53-55.)
At his deposition, Plaintiff
testified to continuing injuries in the form of numbness and
disfigurement--flatness--of the right side of his face where
eleven bones were broken, and a ringing in his ears.
that his broken jawbone did not heal properly.
He also stated
that he sought and received psychiatric treatment as a result of
the incident, including medication to assist him in sleeping.
(Pl. Dep. at 55-60).
Office Zacamy, on the other hand, testified at his
deposition that Plaintiff stayed in his car after it came to a
stop, and that Officer Zacamy exited his vehicle, drew his
weapon, and pointed it at Plaintiff while Plaintiff was still in
his vehicle, telling him to show his hands, and that Plaintiff
ignored Officer’s Zacamy’s command and climbed out of the T-top
of his vehicle.
Officer Zacamy testified that Plaintiff’s face
was bloody when he first exited his vehicle.
further testified that Plaintiff ran away from him to a grassy
area, where Officer Zacamy grabbed his shirt, causing Plaintiff
to fall to the ground.
In addition, Officer Zacamy testified that Plaintiff
continued to resist him, fighting with him and attempting to hit
him, and refusing to give Officer Zacamy his hands.
unknown point, according to Officer Zacamy, Plaintiff discarded
the syringes and some of the drugs on his person, but Officer
Zacamy explained that he was worried that Plaintiff might grab
one of the syringes and that they might be harmful to the
Officer Zacamy states that he was concerned about his
unsecured weapon, which he had returned to its holster when he
began to chase Plaintiff on foot, but had not snapped in.
Officer Zacamy testified that he was on Plaintiff’s back,
attempting to subdue him, and hitting him on the side of the
head in an effort to subdue him.
According to Officer Zacamy,
he struck only one or two blows, at which time another officer
assisted him in cuffing Plaintiff, and no further blows were
delivered by any officers on the scene.
Leonard Zacamy, at 13, 15-23, 51.)
(Motion, Ex. D, Dep. of
As a result of this
incident, Officer Zacamy injured his hand, requiring surgery,
and he missed approximately two months of work.
(Dep. of Zacamy
An Officer Douglas Zeigler, who assisted in cuffing
Plaintiff, also gave a deposition, stating that Plaintiff ran
about 25 yards to a grassy area before being tackled by Officer
He noticed syringes in the area, but stated that
Plaintiff was not attempting to use them as a weapon.
Zeigler testified that Plaintiff was flailing his arms and
failing to respond to officer commands to give Officer Zacamy
Officer Zeigler further stated that he never saw
Officer Zacamy hit Plaintiff at all, nor did he notice any
injuries to Plaintiff.
Officer Zeigler sprained his thumb in
the incident and missed one week of work.
(Motion, Ex. E, Dep.
Briefly, Officer Robert Kraft testified that he saw
Plaintiff exit his vehicle and run in front of the bus, where
Officer Zacamy subdued him.
Officer Kraft alternatively
described this as a grassy area.
As Officer Kraft was attending
to the driver of the van, he did not see Plaintiff and Officer
Zacamy again until Plaintiff was handcuffed and being lifted up.
Thus, he was not able to testify as to what transpired during
He did not notice that Plaintiff had any
(Motion, Ex. F, Dep. of Kraft.)
Finally, Christian Farley, the driver of the van, testified
at deposition regarding his recollection of the incident.
Response, Ex. H, Dep. of Farley.)
Mr. Farley described himself
as being kind of “in shock” as a result of the accident, but did
state that he thought Plaintiff was in the street, in the area
of the bus and his car, at the time he was arrested.
specifically noted that Plaintiff did not run up the road, he
did not see officers chasing him, and it did not look like
Plaintiff was resisting arrest.
(Dep. of Farley at 9-12, 18-
Beyond that, Mr. Farley could not provide details of the
circumstances of the arrest, including any struggle or punching
that may have occurred.
This Court has considered the Motion and the various
submissions of the parties and will decide the Motion on the
briefs, pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 78(b).
This Court exercises subject matter jurisdiction over this
matter pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331, in that the Complaint
alleges federal civil rights claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
Max v. Republican Comm. of Lancaster County, 587 F.3d 198, 199
n.1 (3d Cir. 2009), cert. denied 560 U.S. 925 (2010).
A district court shall grant summary judgment, as to any
claim or defense, “if the movant shows that there is no genuine
dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to
judgment as a matter of law.”
summary judgment is appropriate where the Court is satisfied
that “‘the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories,
and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any,
show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and
that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of
Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986)
(citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 56).
An issue is “genuine” if it is supported by evidence such
that a reasonable jury could return a verdict in the nonmoving
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242,
A fact is “material” if, under the governing
substantive law, a dispute about the fact might affect the
outcome of the suit.
“By its very terms, this standard
provides that the mere existence of some alleged factual dispute
between the parties will not defeat an otherwise properly
supported motion for summary judgment; the requirement is that
there be no genuine issue of material fact.”
Id. at 247-48
(emphasis in original).
Initially, the moving party bears the burden of
demonstrating the absence of a genuine issue of material fact.
See Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1), (4); Celotex, 477 U.S. at 323 (“[A]
party seeking summary judgment always bears the initial
responsibility of informing the district court of the basis for
its motion, and identifying those portions of ‘the pleadings,
depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file,
together with the affidavits, if any,’ which it believes
demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact.”
(citation omitted)); see also Singletary v. Pa. Dept. of Corr.,
266 F.3d 186, 192 n.2 (3d Cir. 2001) (“Although the initial
burden is on the summary judgment movant to show the absence of
a genuine issue of material fact, ‘the burden on the moving
party may be discharged by “showing” - that is, pointing out to
the district court - that there is an absence of evidence to
support the nonmoving party’s case’ when the nonmoving party
bears the ultimate burden of proof.” (citing Celotex, 477 U.S.
Once the moving party has met this burden, the nonmoving
party must identify, by affidavits or otherwise, specific facts
showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.
U.S. at 324.
“[T]he non-moving party, to prevail, must ‘make a
showing sufficient to establish the existence of [every] element
essential to that party’s case, and on which that party will
bear the burden of proof at trial.’”
Cooper v. Sniezek, 418
F.App’x 56, 58 (3d Cir. 2011) (citing Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322).
Thus, to withstand a properly supported motion for summary
judgment, “its opponent must do more than simply show that there
is some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts.”
Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574,
586 (1986) (citations omitted).
Instead, the non-moving party
must “go beyond the pleadings and by [its] own affidavits, or by
the ‘depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on
file,’ designate ‘specific facts showing that there is a genuine
issue for trial.’”
Celotex, 477 U.S. at 324; Anderson, 477 U.S.
at 249; Big Apple BMW, Inc. v. BMW of N. Am., Inc., 974 F.2d
1358, 1363 (3d Cir. 1992), cert. denied, 507 U.S. 912 (1993)
(“To raise a genuine issue of material fact, ... the opponent
need not match, item for item, each piece of evidence proffered
by the movant,” but must “exceed the ‘ mere scintilla’
threshold and ... offer a genuine issue of material fact.”).
“In considering a motion for summary judgment, a district
court may not make credibility determinations or engage in any
weighing of the evidence; instead, the nonmoving party’s
evidence ‘is to be believed and all justifiable inferences are
to be drawn in his favor.’”
Marino v. Indus. Crating Co., 358
F.3d 241, 247 (3d Cir. 2004) (citing Anderson, 477 U.S. at 255).
In making this determination, however, the court may consider
materials in the record other than those cited by the parties.
The Excessive Force Claim Against Officer Zacamy
As noted above, Officer Zacamy argues that he is entitled
to summary judgment on grounds of qualified immunity, contending
that he used an objectively reasonable amount of force under the
“The doctrine of qualified immunity protects
government officials ‘from liability for civil damages
insofar as their conduct does not violate clearly
established statutory or constitutional rights of
which a reasonable person would have known.’”
“Qualified immunity gives government officials
breathing room to make reasonable but mistaken
judgments,” and “protects ‘all but the plainly
incompetent or those who knowingly violate the law.’”
“We do not require a case directly on point” before
concluding that the law is clearly established, “but
existing precedent must have placed the statutory or
constitutional question beyond debate.”
Stanton v. Sims, 134 S.Ct. 3, 4-5 (2013) (citations omitted).
The Supreme Court has established a two-part analysis to
determine if qualified immunity is appropriate:
(1) whether the
official’s conduct violated a constitutional or federal right;
and (2) whether the right at issue was “clearly established” at
the time of the defendant’s alleged misconduct.
Callahan, 555 U.S. 223, 232 (2009), citing Saucier v. Katz, 533
U.S. 194 (2001).
Courts are “permitted to exercise their sound
discretion in deciding which of the two prongs of the qualified
immunity analysis should be addressed first.”
Id. at 236.
is the defendant’s burden to establish entitlement to qualified
Kopec v. Tate, 361 F.3d 772 (3d Cir. 2004).
The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution
provides that “The right of the people to be secure in their
persons ... against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall
not be violated.”
“To state a claim for excessive force as an unreasonable
seizure under the Fourth Amendment, a plaintiff must show that a
‘seizure’ occurred and that it was unreasonable.”
County of Inyo, 489 U.S. 593, 599 (1989), cited in Lamont v. New
Jersey, 637 F.3d 177, 182-83 (3d Cir. 2011).
See also Graham v.
Connor, 490 U.S. 386, 395 (1989) (“all claims that law
enforcement officers have used excessive force--deadly or not-in the course of an arrest, investigatory stop, or other
‘seizure’ of a free citizen should be analyzed under the Fourth
Amendment and its ‘reasonableness’ standard”).
A seizure triggering Fourth Amendment protection occurs
when a government actor “by means of physical force or show of
authority, has in some way restrained the liberty of a citizen.”
Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1, 19 n.16 (1968).
Clearly, here, there
is no question that Plaintiff has adequately alleged that a
To determine the reasonableness of a seizure, a court “must
balance the nature and quality of the intrusion on the
individual’s Fourth Amendment interests against the importance
of the governmental interests alleged to justify the intrusion.”
United States v. Place, 462 U.S. 696, 703 (1983), quoted in
Graham v. Connor, 490 U.S. 386, 396 (1989) and Scott v. Harris,
550 U.S. 372, 383 (2007).
Proper application of this objective
reasonableness standard “requires careful attention to the facts
and circumstances of each particular case, including the
severity of the crime at issue, whether the suspect poses an
immediate threat to the safety of the officers or others, and
whether he is actively resisting arrest or attempting to evade
arrest by flight.”
Graham v. Connor, 490 U.S. at 396; quoted in
Groman v. Township of Manalapan, 47 F.3d 628, 633 (3d Cir.
Other factors to be considered include “‘the duration of
the [officer’s] action, whether the action takes place in the
context of effecting an arrest, the possibility that the suspect
may be armed, and the number of persons with whom the police
officers must contend at one time.’”
Couden v. Duffy, 446 F.3d
483, 497 (3d Cir. 2006) (citations omitted).
question is whether the officers’ actions are ‘objectively
reasonable’ in light of the facts and circumstances confronting
them, without regard to their underlying intent or motivation.”
Graham, 490 U.S. at 397.
Officer Zacamy has failed to establish any entitlement to
qualified immunity on this record.
Clearly, the evidence
presented demonstrates that there remain significant issues in
dispute regarding both the level of threat Plaintiff presented,
where Plaintiff has testified that he complied with the first
order to stop and place his hands on his head, and the level of
force used to subdue him, which resulted in broken bones in both
Plaintiff’s face and Officer Zacamy’s hand.
When the facts are
viewed in the light most favorable to Plaintiff, however, a
reasonable jury could find that Officer Zacamy’s actions were
unreasonable in light of the circumstances.
Cf., e.g., Green v.
New Jersey State Police, 246 F.App’x 158 (3d Cir. 2007)
(affirming the denial of summary judgment to officers who
arrested a driver for speeding and who were alleged, after he
was placed in the back seat of a police vehicle, to have grabbed
the arrestee’s throat before asking him to exit the vehicle when
he became agitated, to have hit the arrestee twice on the head
with a flashlight, causing lacerations requiring stitches, and
to have pulled the arrestee from the car, thrown him to the
ground, and kicked him several times).
In addition, the law regarding the reasonable use of force
in effecting an arrest was well-established at the time of
See Couden, 446 F.3d at 497; Estate of
Smith v. Marasco, 430 F.3d 140, at 149-50 (3d Cir. 2005).
if an officer applies force in an unreasonable manner under the
factors set forth in Graham and its progeny, he is not entitled
to qualified immunity.
See Estate of Smith, 430 F.3d at 150.
Accordingly, Officer Zacamy’s motion for summary judgment
with respect to the excessive force claim will be denied.
The Claim Against Haddon Township
Plaintiff argues that Haddon Township had a custom of
failing to review citizen complaints of excessive use of force,
which led Officer Zacamy to believe that he could use excessive
force without any consequences.
Local government units and supervisors are not liable under
§ 1983 solely on a theory of respondeat superior.
v. Thompson, 131 S.Ct. 1350, 1358-61 (2011); City of Oklahoma
City v. Tuttle, 471 U.S. 808, 824 n.8 (1985); Monell v. New York
City Department of Social Services, 436 U.S. 658, 690-91, 694
(1978) (holding that municipal liability attaches only “when
execution of a government’s policy or custom, whether made by
its lawmakers or by those whose edicts or acts may fairly be
said to represent official policy, inflicts the injury”
complained of); Natale v. Camden County Correctional Facility,
318 F.3d 575, 583-84 (3d Cir. 2003).
To establish municipal liability under § 1983, “a plaintiff
must show that an official who has the power to make policy is
responsible for either the affirmative proclamation of a policy
or acquiescence in a well-settled custom.”
Dubinon, 915 F.2d 845, 850 (3d Cir. 1990), quoted in Blanche Rd.
Corp. v. Bensalem Twp., 57 F.3d 253, 269 n.16 (3d Cir.), cert.
denied, 516 U.S. 915 (1995), and quoted in Woodwind Estates,
Ltd. v. Gretkowski, 205 F.3d 118, 126 (3d Cir. 2000).
is made ‘when a decisionmaker possess[ing] final authority to
establish municipal policy with respect to the action issues a
final proclamation, policy or edict.’”
Natale, 318 F.3d at 584
“A custom is an act ‘that has not been
formally approved by an appropriate decisionmaker,’ but that is
‘so widespread as to have the force of law.’”
The Third Circuit has observed, “[t]here are three
situations where acts of a government employee may be deemed to
be the result of a policy or custom of the governmental entity
for whom the employee works, thereby rendering the entity liable
under § 1983:”
The first is where the appropriate officer or entity
promulgates a generally applicable statement of policy
and the subsequent act complained of is simply an
implementation of that policy. The second occurs
where no rule has been announced as policy but federal
law has been violated by an act of the policymaker
itself. Finally, a policy or custom may also exist
where the policymaker has failed to act affirmatively
at all, [though] the need to take some action to
control the agents of the government is so obvious,
and the inadequacy of existing practice so likely to
result in the violation of constitutional rights, that
the policymaker can reasonably be said to have been
deliberately indifferent to the need.
Natale, 318 F.3d at 584 (footnote, citations, and quotation
Thus, a plaintiff must demonstrate that,
through its deliberate conduct, the municipality was the moving
force behind the plaintiff’s injury.
Monell, 436 U.S. at 689.
Here, in support of his claim against Haddon Township,
Plaintiff relies upon “The Attorney General’s Policy on Use of
Force,” a pamphlet distributed by Haddon Township to its
officers, as well as the Township’s response to complaints of
The “Attorney General’s Policy on Use of
Force,” (Pl. Response, Docket Entry No. 91, Ex. N) appears to
consist of a series of printouts of bullet points, of the type
used in a slide presentation, which detail important concepts,
including that the use of force should never be considered
routine and that the degree of force employed should be only
that which is reasonably necessary, as well as the appropriate
use of force in various situations, e.g., shooting at a moving
vehicle, and the duty of an officer to take appropriate action
when another officer is using excessive force.
Among the slides
is one which states that an officer who uses force consistent
with the law and this policy will be strongly supported by the
law enforcement community in any review of the officer’s
The “Attorney General’s Policy on Use of Force”
further requires the preparation of a Use of Force Report any
time physical, mechanical, or deadly force is used.
pamphlet or slide presentation is neutral in tone, emphasizes
officers’ duties and responsibilities under the law, and cannot
reasonably be construed as suggesting to officers that the use
of excessive force is condoned in any way.
Officer Zacamy’s own Internal Affairs file reflects that a
single complaint of excessive force was filed against Officer
Zacamy prior to Plaintiff’s arrest.
That incident involved
officers responding to a dispute at a laundromat and alleged
The incident was investigated by a Sgt. Anuw who
interviewed two other officers present at the time, but did not
interview the complainant or other persons present at the
laundromat, and concluded that the contact used in taking the
complainant into custody was appropriate.
One other claim of
“intimidation” was made against Officer Zacamy after Plaintiff’s
arrest, in which Officer Zacamy was assisting in a property
removal and allegedly told a woman that she could be charged
with theft for keeping her nephew’s laptop computer.
complainant later withdrew her complaint, stating that she
realized that Officer Zacamy was only trying to resolve the
In that instance, the investigating officer did
speak to the complainant.
(Pl. Response, Ex. L.)
Plaintiff also relies on Haddon Township’s Internal Affairs
Summary Report Forms (Pl. Response, Ex. Q, not filed), which
purport to show that the four reports of excessive force filed
between 2005 and 2007 were determined to be unfounded.
information regarding those complaints or the Township’s
investigation of them is provided.
While the single allegation of “pushing” in which Officer
Zacamy was involved prior to Plaintiff’s arrest may not have
been investigated as thoroughly as it could have been, the use
of force there was not alleged to have resulted in any injuries,
and the other allegations of excessive force against Officer
Zacamy and Haddon Township are so few and so vague, as they are
presented here, that, even when viewed in the light most
favorable to Plaintiff, the outcomes cannot be interpreted as
representing a custom of condoning the excessive use of force.
Cf. Jackson v. Hamilton Twp., Civil No. 10-3989, 2014 WL
1217662, *3-*4 (D.N.J. March 24, 2014) (granting summary
judgment to police department where allegations regarding
investigations of officers’ use of force “‘do  not depict a
‘sterile and shallow ... investigation’ procedure.’” (citation
Haddon Township’s request for summary judgment as to
the municipal liability claim will be granted.
For the reasons set forth above, Defendant Officer Zacamy’s
request for summary judgment on the Fourth Amendment excessiveforce claim will be denied, Haddon Township’s request for
summary judgment with respect to the municipal liability claim
will be granted, and all other claims will be dismissed with
An appropriate order follows.
At Camden, New Jersey
s/ Noel L. Hillman
Noel L. Hillman
United States District Judge
Dated: September 19, 2014
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