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New Jersey parents sue volunteer cops in wrongful death suit

The parents of a 31-year old Garfield, New Jersey man who was killed in a crash while being chased by a pair of volunteer police officers recently filed a $30 million lawsuit against the city of Paterson, New Jersey and its police department. The wrongful death suit stems from an April, 2012 incident in which the man was allegedly chased by two auxiliary police officers as he rode his motorcycle through Paterson. The volunteer officers gave chase despite the fact that they did not have the authority to conduct traffic stops and were only allowed to direct traffic and control crowds.

The motorcyclist crashed into a parked car and was pronounced dead at the hospital. The two police officers allegedly fled the scene and did not report the incident to the police department. The lawsuit alleges that the city did not adequately supervise the officers despite having received complaints about their conduct, and that the officers violated the man's constitutional rights against unreasonable searches and seizures.

Wrongful death lawsuits such as this one stem from a negligent act towards a person leading to that person's death. Cases such as this one involve the alleged failure of a police department to keep the public safe from harm and a breach of the police department's duty to keep its officers from needlessly harassing citizens. These lawsuits are always brought on behalf of the surviving family members of the deceased.

This case is especially troubling because it involves alleged negligence by the police, an institution expected to protect the public from criminals. The fact that the auxiliary officers were allegedly allowed to chase a man for an unstated purpose and then flee the scene after a crash represents an egregious breach of the duty of care.

New Jersey residents who have lost a family member in an accident may have the right to pursue a remedy at law. The family members of the victim may recover damages from the defendant in a wrongful death lawsuit. A wrongful death lawsuit can provide compensation for the financial impact of the victim's death and help hold the defendant accountable for his conduct.

Source: NJ.com, "Parents of Garfield man killed while being chased by Paterson volunteer officers file $30 million lawsuit," Dan Ivers, April 4, 2013.

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