Unpublished Opinions for the Week of July 17, 2017
CIVIL RIGHTS | FAMILY LAW
46-2-3725 Pace v. Twp. of Nutley, N.J. Super. App. Div. (per curiam) (17 pp.) Plaintiffs, husband and wife, appealed the dismissal of their complaint alleging excessive force in husband's and son's arrest for obstructing the administration of law and resisting arrest. When police responded to the 911 call for domestic violence, wife was outside the house and told police she wanted the husband out of the house and wanted to file a complaint against him. Father and son were screaming at each other inside the house and when officer attempted to enter the house to discuss the situation, son pushed officer, husband moved forward in a menacing manner, officer pepper-sprayed both men and officers arrested them after a struggle. The trial judge found that based on the totality of the circumstances, the police were justified in arresting husband, in using force to do so, that the use of pepper spray was not excessive and that defendants were entitle to qualified and specific immunity under the PDVA. The court agreed that the police had probable cause to arrest husband and to enter the home to effectuate his arrest. Plaintiffs' contention that defendants were not entitled to specific immunity because the incident was not a domestic violence incident lacked merit. Additionally, in light of the circumstances confronting the officer, the use of pepper spray was objectively reasonable.
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