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article imageNew Jersey teen locked in police van for 15 hours files suit

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By Eileen Kersey     Jan 2, 2013 in World
Fort Lee - Adam Kim, who was 17 when he was locked in a police van for 15 hours, has filed a lawsuit claiming the experience left him traumatised.
Adam Kim's clash with police officers followed his presence at a party. NBC reported that around midnight on March 25, 2011 police officers responded to calls that a house party was overly noisy.
Adam claims that he and others were racially abused by the officers who responded to the call. 14 teenagers, including Mr Kim were then placed in a police van. At no time during all of this were any of the teens told why they were being arrested, nor were they read their rights. Ten of them were put in two separate cages in the van. The remaining four were seated. Taken to police headquarters on arrival all but five of the teens were led into the building. The others, mostly of Asian ethnic origin, remained in the locked van. Here they stayed for 15 hours, with no food, water nor bathroom access, until a passer-by raised the alarm. Kim alleges they were ignored by officers who returned to the van to respond to calls.
The five teenagers were provided with food and water, plus medics were called after the passer-by had raised the alarm. The night temperature was cold and the five teens hardly dressed for the weather. According to NBC Kim was only wearing a T Shirt.
Mr Kim has filed a federal civil rights suit against the officers involved, the police department and the borough.The amount of money being claimed for compensatory and punitive damages has not been disclosed.
According to North Jersey News The defendants named in the suit include Thomas Ripoli, who retired as police chief on Monday. Also included were Capt. Stephen Gallagher and Sgts. Matthew Hintze and Gregory Boylan.
Also named are Officers Cory Horton, Anthony Bozzetti, John Reuter, Christina Blue, Philip Ross, Michele Morgenstern, David Kurz, Patrick Kellett and James Lee, as well as other unidentified officers.
The now retired police chief Ripoli, Borough Attorney Lee Cohen and Borough Administrator Peggy Thomas all declined to comment.
Borough officials launched an investigation following the incident. One police officer was demoted. Other officers were suspended without pay. It concluded that three officers did not treat the teens maliciously but rather failed to follow procedures. At least five other officers were disciplined for ignoring procedures. An internal investigation however found "no evidence of malicious or discriminatory intent by the officers".
Adam, a Korean American, has accused the police who attended the call of using the word “chinks” and making “vulgar remarks” about how the females at the party were dressed.
Nancy E. Lucianna, the lawyer acting on behalf of Mr Kim, claims that he has been left traumatised and having regular nightmares which prevent sound sleep. She also has said that he has needed medication and therapy to recover from his "ordeal". Adam is currently a college freshman.
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