That’ll Learn Him to Be Measuring Drapes; Or, Another Isolated Incident

Wednesday, June 4th, 2008

Tom’s River, New Jersey:

A Toms River man, who claimed he was in an apartment to measure for curtains when he was kicked and stomped on by law enforcement officers during a drug raid four years ago, has won a $350,000 settlement in exchange for the dismissal of his excessive force lawsuit, his attorney said.

Jon Caldwell, 54, suffered chest trauma and fractured ribs after law enforcement officers “put their boots on his neck and started beating him by kicking and stomping on him,” according to the lawsuit, which attorney Eugene Melody said was filed in September 2006.

The lawsuit contends that on Dec. 17, 2004, the then-Dover Township Police Department and the Ocean County Narcotics Strike Force were executing search warrants on a pair of apartments in the Park Ridge Apartment complex on Walnut Street. The raids were part of an ongoing investigation into the distribution of marijuana in the Toms River area, according to the suit.

Caldwell had signed a lease to rent an apartment in the complex beginning in January. The superintendent of the complex had given Caldwell a key to the apartment so he could measure for window treatments and furnishings, the suit states.

On a tip that a person was in an abandoned apartment, law enforcement also raided an apartment that they did not have a search warrant for, the suit claims. Caldwell was in that apartment.

“Several men in SWAT-type gear broke down the door to his apartment and tackled him, slamming him face first to the floor. These men, . . . members of the Narcotics Strike Force, put their boots on his neck and started kicking and stomping on him,” the suit states. “None of these men ever identified themselves as “law enforcement’ to Mr. Caldwell or asked him what he was doing in the apartment.”

After law enforcement realized Caldwell had nothing to do with the drug raid, they let him go, the suit states. The next day, Caldwell was admitted to Community Medical Center, Toms River, according to the suit. His medical bills total nearly $100,000, according to the suit.

Even they’d had the right guy, was the beating and stomping really necessary? Note too the lack of an announcement. But don’t the police say they always announced before a drug raid?

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14 Responses to “That’ll Learn Him to Be Measuring Drapes; Or, Another Isolated Incident”

  1. #1 |  Michael Chaney | 

    Actually, “the story” is a little more complicated after Ryan Frederick. It goes like this:

    “We announced and he should have known it was police, and when we realized he knew we were here, we yelled ‘eight ball’ meaning the guy inside knew we were here and the raid was ‘compromised’.”

  2. #2 |  Mike Gogulski | 

    And as usual it’s not the perpetrators who are forced to pay, as noted here:

  3. #3 |  mike | 

    I saw a rerun of Reno 911 last night, a couple of the officers were at a high school recruiting event in a booth next to the Army. One of the pitches that the sherriff’s deputies used to recruit against the army was: “come to work for us and you will get to shoot Americans” Too close to the truth.

  4. #4 |  Dave Krueger | 

    “Even they’d had the right guy, was the beating and stomping really necessary?”

    Of course, it was. From the cops’ perspective it would be pointless to conduct a raid if you eliminated the fun part. Also, I think they probably kick the shit out of anyone who rudely makes them look stupid by not having any drugs after the cops took time out of their very busy day to conduct the raid.

    But, we must also see the good side to this. It’s nice that it only took the city four years to step up to the plate and settle with the guy.

  5. #5 |  Christopher Monnier | 

    Maybe Caldwell wasn’t licensed by ASID.

  6. #6 |  Chris in AL | 

    Since it was the wrong place and the ‘dangerous perp’ was just measuring for curtains, certainly they don’t count that as “putting their lives on the line for us”.

    So I guess it isn’t ‘everyday’, right, coppers? Actually, it is very rare. If you take out the times you ‘put your lives on the line’ as part of the drug war, (Since that is a war you started and escalated to one of violence) you would actually be much more safe. And so would the rest of us.

  7. #7 |  Frank | 

    If it was taking that long, I would have fought for either a trial or the badges of those involved as part of the settlement.

    When are we going to start holding bad cops personally responsible for their actions? This is one of the reasons why I believe police unions should be disbanded — not only do they protect dirty cops, they intimidate witnesses. (Derrick Foster among others)

    On one of the newspaper web pages a question was asked: Why isn’t Ryan Frederick’s family screaming bloody murder and demanding an independent investigation? My suspicion is that union members have already told them to shut up, otherwise Ryan will not survive to see a trial. Such things do happen in government custody.

  8. #8 |  zero | 

    @Chris in AL:
    While I agree with your sentiment about the Police using too much force I think you are wrong about the Police starting the war. Essentially you and me and all of the Public started this war on drugs. The Politicians who passed these asinine laws that the Police and Prosecutors enforce were elected by the people. The only way we will stop this violence is if we elect Politicians who will repeal these laws.

  9. #9 |  Chris in AL | 


    You are correct in that it was politicians that passed the rediculous drug laws. But it was police that created the violence, celebrate the violence and revel in the violence. If you read some of their message boards or hear them talk, it is clear. They can’t wait for their chance to hurt people.

    And when anybody fights back they harass and intimidate like cowards. Whiny little bastards that abuse their power and fight for the right to continue abusing their power. They crushed this guy’s ribs, and there is not a decent human being among them that even feels bad about it, much less feels they should admit responsibility or do something to avoid hurting an innocent person in the future. They don’t care if they do. They will just cover it up. Only people that enjoy inflicting pain protect their ability to do so to this degree.

  10. #10 |  ZappaCrappa | 

    I would submit to you that this QUITE POSSIBLY linked to a possible/probable conspiracy linked with this story published at the AGITATOR a while back ago:

    Maybe we should see if the cops are on the take from IDPC…..

  11. #11 |  The Johnny Appleseed Of Crack | 

    And as usual it’s not the perpetrators who are forced to pay, as noted here:

    I believe that the $350K will come out of the local government’s budget. Yes, their budget probably is supplied by taxes, but they don’t get to arbitrarily increase the taxes whenever they need to pay out a settlement. So the settlement money means the government gets less money. Which is probably the most effective way to incentivize the local government to pressure it’s police force to stop their violent behavior.

  12. #12 |  Billy Beck | 

    “Essentially you and me and all of the Public started this war on drugs.”

    Bullshit. I had nothing to do with it..

    “The Politicians who passed these asinine laws that the Police and Prosecutors enforce were elected by the people.”

    I repeat: nothing. I never vote, precisely in order that I can stand clean and clear of this sort of thing. Get this good and straight: do you see that “the people” thing? Well, words mean things and I’m one of ’em, and I do not submit individuals’ rights to the stoopid-lottery of electoral politics.

    Everyone else can have all the responsibility for this that they want, but they should bloody keep it to themselves.

  13. #13 |  Against Stupidity | 

    Does not voting also make you culpable in allowing it to happen.

    “All that is required for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing.”

  14. #14 |  The Other Jeff | 

    Not voting and doing nothing aren’t necessarily the same thing. There are other ways–often more effective–to make your voice heard (and I’m not thinking of anything illegal).