SEASIDE HEIGHTS - Three new lawsuits have been filed against the Seaside Heights Police Department claiming excessive force was used during arrests.
Jason Billingham, who is suing Seaside Heights, told News 12 New Jersey about his arrest that happened last year after the St. Patrick's Day Parade. Billingham was arrested after he refused to move away from the entrance to a club.
Billingham says he suffered injuries after officers got him in handcuffs. He says he had been drinking, but says several officers did not need to get rough with him. He says one officer punched him in the face and body and gave him a black eye.
He claims he was also struck with a baton, causing a long bruise on his ribcage.
Attorney Thomas Mallon represents Billingham and about a dozen other people who have filed lawsuits against the department. Half of them settled for tens of thousands of dollars. Borough Administrator John Camera thinks attorneys such as Mallon see the municipality as a cash cow, knowing that insurance companies often prefer to settle to avoid costly litigation. Billingham was charged with disorderly persons, resisting arrest, and assaulting an officer. He is due back in court next week.