In 2012, Jersey City, New Jersey resident, Edward Smalls, filed a federal civil rights complaint against the City of Englewood, Englewood Police Department, Detective Michael Hargrave who shot him, former girlfriend Sheila Butler who Smalls claims had given the officer false information about him, Bergen County Sheriff, Bergen County Jail, and the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office which included employees John Molinelli, James Santulli, Sharon Pfeiffer, and Deepa Jacobs.
The civil complaint captioned Smalls v. Englewood, et al, Federal Case No. :11-cv-07210, alleges police misconduct, malicious prosecution, fabricating evidence, failure to train, conspiracy, and that the defendants have a pattern, practice, and custom to violate rights of the citizens and thus could be held liable under Monell.
The lawsuit stems from a physical altercation in December 2009, when Edward Smalls was shot by Englewood New Jersey Police Detective Michael Hargrave.
Englewood Police reported that Smalls attacked his girlfriend, Sheila Butler, of Englewood before turning on Detective Hargrave. Sheila Butler told the officers that Smalls stalked and harassed her after they broke up.
The Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office charged Smalls with aggravated assault, criminal weapons possession, making threats and stalking. Given his prior criminal record, if Edward Smalls was found guilty of the charges, he would have spent 30 years to life in prison.
The Bergen County Prosecutor’s office stated, “Smalls brandished a razor blade and made a slashing move toward the officer before Hargrave shot him”.
Smalls alleged that in order to justify why Detective Michael Hargrave shot him, the Englewood Police Department conspired to ‘falsify evidence’ by fabricating police reports stating that Smalls had a “razor blade”. Smalls also alleged that the Englewood officers used excessive force against him.
A jury found Edward Smalls not guilty of assaulting his ex-girlfriend in Englewood and attacking Detective Michael Hargrave who shot him in the lower left leg.
“I know they said I am not guilty or whatever, but what I have been through, it hurts,” Edward said.
“I should never have been locked up. I should never have gotten shot.”, says Edward.
On April 11, 2016, the Englewood Police Department agreed to pay out a $125,000 settlement to Edward Smalls who was represented by Robert Blossner of Pawar Gilgallon & Rudy, LLC. It is presently unknown whether the county, or any other defendant, settled separately with Smalls.
None of Smalls' allegations have been proven or disproven in court. Settlement agreements typically state that payment does not constitute an admission of wrongdoing by any of the defendants. All that is known for sure is that Englewood or its insurer, for whatever reason, decided that it would rather pay Smalls $125,000 than take the matter to trial. Perhaps the defendants' decision to settle was done to save further legal expense and the costs of trying what were in fact exaggerated or meritless claims. Or, perhaps the claims were true and the defendants wanted to avoid being embarrassed at trial. This is the problem when cases settle before trial--it is impossible to know the truth of what really happened.
The pattern of alleged police misconduct at the Englewood Police Department is apparent. The City of Englewood and the Englewood Police Department are currently in the United States Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit in a case titled Marc Stephens, et al vs. City of Englewood, et al.
Marc and Tyrone Stephens of Englewood filed a civil rights complaint against the City of Englewood, Englewood Police Department, Det. Marc McDonald, Det. Desmond Singh, Det. Claudia Cubillos, Det. Santiago Incle Jr., Det. Nathaniel Kinlaw, Nina C. Remson Attorney At Law, LLC, and Comet Law Offices, LLC alleging False Arrest, Conspiracy, falsifying evidence, false imprisonment, intentional infliction of emotional distress, defamation, legal malpractice, and several other cause of actions.
Marc and Tyrone Stephens are seeking over $76 million in damages.
Marc Stephens documented the entire criminal and civil case proving, without a doubt, the Englewood Police Department conspired to fabricate police reports and testimony in court.
Marc Stephens posted their irrefutable evidence against the City of Englewood and the Englewood Police Department on YouTube. See video below. It’s a must see.