Day 9: Williams v. City of Newark

Unlawful Search and Excessive Force
April 2008

banner_police_citi_200: The Settlement Project: Citizen Edition

On July 19, 2001, Newark Police Department officers raided a home located at 137 Rose Terrace. In the course of the raid they threw a device into a sofa bed where plaintiff Lateesha Williams was sleeping. The device caused a fire, and the ensuing conflagration severely burned Ms. Williams and her two children. Ms. Williams brought suit (No. ESX-L-4970-03) against Newark and several officers—S. Galvano, Frank Rossi, John Kirk, Eric Brown, J. Byrd, K. Rubel, Joseph Watson, Oscar Davis, P. Bumalang and Joseph Penevolpe. In April 2008, the city authorized a settlement with Ms. Williams and her children in an amount not to exceed $250,000.

Note: None of Williams' allegations have been proven or disproven in court. While the parties freely agreed to settle this case, all that is known for sure is that Newark, for whatever reason, decided that it would rather pay Williams $250,000, rather than take the matter to trial. Perhaps the defendants' decision to settle was done to save further legal expense and the costs of trying what were in fact exaggerated or meritless claims. Or, perhaps the claims were true and the defendants wanted to avoid being embarrassed at trial. This is the problem when cases settle before trial—it is impossible to know the truth of what really happened—or what consequences, if any, came to the individuals accused in the suit.

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