CAMDEN — Atlantic City has agreed to pay $700,000 in a settlement Thursday to end a New York City man’s excessive-force lawsuit against the city and several resort police officers.
In the suit, filed in U.S. District Court in October 2014, Charlie Harrison, 58, alleged several city police officers, including a K-9, assaulted him after he was pulled over in an unjustified traffic stop.
“We are pleased that there was some measure of justice done for our client,” Jennifer Bonjean, Harrison’s attorney, said Friday. “A monetary award is really the only outcome in a civil litigation. Money cannot fully make someone whole who has been victimized by the police, but it was a good settlement.”
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The settlement is not an admission of guilt, she added.
City Solicitor Anthony Swan did not return a request for comment, nor did attorneys Michael Barker or William E. Cook, who represented the city and the officers, respectively.
On Nov. 14, 2012, Officers Michael Oldroyd, Anthony Alosi, Rebecca Seabrook and Bounthamal Thavisack allegedly kicked Harrison in his face and body until he lost consciousness, and Officer Michelle Clarke released a K-9 on him, “causing deep lacerations, scarring and permanent damage,” according to the suit.
State data show that as of Dec. 31, Oldroyd was employed by the city and makes $97,856 a year, Alosi makes $91,936, Seabrook makes $102,924, Thavisack makes $91,932 and Michelle Clarke makes $95,864.
Sgt. Kevin Fair confirmed Friday they are all still employed by the department.
Last summer, Steven Stadler, 49, won a lawsuit against Atlantic City and retired K-9 Officer John Devlin in a federal jury trial and was awarded $300,000 and $500 from the defendants, respectively. In April, the city settled an excessive-force case against Officer Franco Sydnor for $650,000.
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According to the suit, Harrison was gambling at the now-shuttered Atlantic Club Casino Hotel on Nov. 13, 2012, and was asked to leave by security, who called police. About 2 a.m. the next morning, Oldroyd followed Harrison’s black Mercedes and pulled him over near Virginia and Pacific avenues. Thavisack and Alosi also responded.
After getting out of the car at Clarke’s request, the officers “physically beat” Harrison, according to the suit, and “Clarke’s K-9 partner viciously attacked Plaintiff, who was not resisting arrest or committing any other crime.”
Harrison was charged with assault of a police officer, resisting arrest, eluding police, reckless driving, unsafe lane change and driving while intoxicated. He ended up pleading guilty to eluding police, with all other charges dismissed, according to the suit.