NJ Woman Awarded Settlement In Police Brutality Lawsuit

The City of Bridgeton will pay a South Jersey woman nearly $700,000 to settle a police brutality lawsuit. Her story and video of one of the incidents were first reported by FOX 29 Investigates.

Marella Lawson claimed her civil rights were violated during two arrests by Bridgeton police.

One of the incidents was during a traffic stop last year captured on police dashcam video, which was obtained by FOX 29 Investigative Reporter Jeff Cole.

The video shows Lawson being pulled from her vehicle, pepper-sprayed and taken to the ground by officers, one of whom she was already suing in federal court.

As a result of the traffic stop, Lawson was fined for a broken tail light and found guilty of driving while suspended. But she was cleared of the most serious charges.

According to documents first obtained by NJCivilSettlements.Blogspot.com, Lawson will be paid $690,000 in the settlement.

Her attorney declined to comment on the settlement.

The officer in the case has been cleared of any criminal charges.

Bridgeton makes no admission of wrongdoing in the settlement.

Bridgeton Chief of Police Michael Gaimari issued the following statement Tuesday night: "I have limited input in those decisions and the insurance companies apparently, and unfortunately, put a lot of weight on the costs associated with going to trial even when the officers may be in the right. It definitely sends the wrong message to all officers and the public."

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