PATERSON - The City of Paterson has agreed to pay $200,000 to settle a police brutality case that was the subject of a Kane In Your Corner investigation in January.
Paterson Police Officer Michael Avila was seen on tape grabbing Linette Vazquez around the neck and slamming her to the ground inside the Paterson police station. Vazquez was handcuffed to a bench at the time. Avila also appeared to be less than truthful about the incident in his police report. He did not report using force, as required by the New Jersey attorney general, and claimed to be merely taking information from Vazquez when she assaulted him.
Vazquez’ attorney, Nancy Lucianna, is pleased with the settlement. “It sends out a clear message to the City of Paterson that Linette Vazquez and all arrestees will not tolerate being handcuffed and brutalized while in police custody,” she says.
The settlement still must be approved by a vote of the city council, but sources tell News 12 New Jersey that is expected to happen as soon as possible.
Vazquez is just the latest person to get a six-figure settlement because of alleged police brutality in Paterson. Since 2011, the city has paid out more than $1.5 million to settle lawsuits for brutality and excessive force by its police department. Among them: a $400,000 settlement to two men allegedly beaten in 2009 after they allegedly stole an iPhone from an ambulance, and a $700,000 settlement to a woman who said she was sexually assaulted by a Paterson police officer inside a holding cell.