New Jersey’s Ginarte Law Firm Claims Police Used Excessive Force in Shooting of New Brunswick Man

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Joseph A. Ginarte of Ginarte O’Dwyer Gonzalez Gallardo & Winograd, LLP, alleges that police officers violated a 19-year-old man’s civil rights when they shot him in the back in a January incident that left him a paraplegic.

New Brunswick excessive force lawsuit, New Jersey personal injury attorney, New York accident and injury lawyer

New Jersey and New York personal injury attorney Joseph A. Ginarte

He sits here today in a wheel chair. He’s a paraplegic. He’s got two bullets lodged in his back, which the doctors are not able to remove.

Attorney Joseph A. Ginarte has filed a federal court civil rights lawsuit against city and police officials that he claims are responsible for a January 2012 shooting that left his 19-year-old client paralyzed for life.

Ginarte, a veteran New Jersey and New York personal injury lawyer, joined attorneys Adam J. Kleinfeldt and Alan L. Zegas in filing the lawsuit July 30 in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey. (Case No. 3:12-cv-04722-FLW-TJB).

Ginarte and Kleinfeldt are attorneys with the New Jersey and New York personal injury firm of Ginarte O’Dwyer Gonzalez Gallardo & Winograd, LLP, which has experience in filing personal injury and wrongful death claims against public entities.

The lawsuit alleges that police officers from the New Brunswick Police Department and Middlesex County Sheriff’s Department used excessive force and violated the state and federal constitutional rights of Ginarte’s client, Victor Rodriquez, when they shot him in the back during an encounter with the officers.

“He sits here today in a wheel chair. He’s a paraplegic. He’s got two bullets lodged in his back, which the doctors are not able to remove,” Ginarte said at a highly attended July 31 press conference in which the attorneys showed surveillance video of the incident.

According to the complaint, Rodriquez and his cousin were leaving a restaurant in New Brunswick on the night of January 31, 2012, when they were confronted by a group of eight suspected gang members who attempted to rob them.

To break up the crowd, Rodriquez took a blank gun from his backpack and shot two blank rounds into the air, without pointing the blank gun at any person, the lawsuit says.

Rodriquez then took off running and went past the police officers, who were sitting nearby in an unmarked vehicle, the complaint states. Without issuing a warning or command, the officers shot Rodriquez in the back of his legs and rear of his body, the lawsuit alleges.

According to the complaint, the shots caused Rodriquez to sprawl forward on the ground and the blank gun to slide out of his hands across the street. As he lay on the ground, one officer exited the vehicle and shot Rodriquez again in the middle of his back, causing his lower body to go numb, the lawsuit claims.

“At no point prior to the shooting did any of the law enforcement officers demand that Rodriquez stop, freeze or drop the blank gun,” the complaint states, adding, “[H]e did not present a threat to any person and had not pointed a weapon at any person.”

In addition to naming the individual officers and law enforcement agencies involved in the shooting, the lawsuit names City of New Brunswick and Middlesex County officials as defendants, including New Brunswick Mayor John Cahill.

According to the complaint, the officials are responsible due to their “failure to properly train and supervise” the individual officers in the proper use of force and techniques and “in their establishment of policies, procedures, practices and customs that result in the excessive use of force.”

Rodriquez, who has been left totally and permanently disabled, seeks compensatory and punitive damages in the lawsuit as well as attorneys’ fees and costs.

About Ginarte O’Dwyer Gonzalez Gallardo & Winograd, LLP

For more than 30 years, Ginarte O’Dwyer Gonzalez Gallardo & Winograd, LLP, has served the residents of the New Jersey and New York metro area. In addition to its general practice, the firm assists clients with legal claims arising from car accidents, truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, construction accidents, medical malpractice and other personal injury cases. The firm also represents clients in employment discrimination, Social Security Disability and workers’ compensation matters. The Ginarte law firm features a team of 25 lawyers and 100 staff members and offices located in New York City, Newark, Elizabeth, Clifton, Union City and Perth Amboy. The firm’s Newark office is located at 400 Market Street, Newark, NJ, 07105 (local phone (973) 854-8400). The firm can assist Spanish-speaking and Portuguese-speaking clients. To learn more, call 1-888-GINARTE or use the firm’s online contact form.

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