Ashby et al v. East Orange Police Department et als. Detective Reginald Butts, et al.
Gold, Albanese, Barletti & Locascio L.L.C. represented Detective Reginald Butts. In the matter, David F. Ashby was the owner of a business known as “Bravo’s Café,” which he claims was a sports bar and restaurant. Plaintiff alleged that on December 1, 1998 at approximately 7:30 p.m., while they were in the process of serving approximately 20 customers at Bravo’s, about 20 police officers entered the bar with guns drawn and shouted “don’t move, get down on the floor, keep your hands on the bar” Plaintiff states that the officers pointed their guns at the customers, owners and employees. Plaintiff claims that the officers searched everyone in the bar without a warrant. Plaintiff’s also claimed that the officers illegally strip-searched Plaintiff’s Brenda Ashby and Barbara Hatcher in the ladies’ room with the door open and in full view of the male police officers who were walking by. Plaintiff further claims that the officers terrorized customers in the bar and forced many of them to lie on the floor. Plaintiff’s claim that defendant, Detective Reginald Butts, stated during the raid,” see I told you I was gonna get you,” which plaintiff’s claim was a reference to an incident that occurred approximately two (2) months prior when Detective Reginald Butts and a companion were refused entry to Bravo’s because both appeared to be too intoxicated — at which time Detective Butts told Mr. Ashby he would “get even” with him.
On December 1, 1998, plaintiff David Ashby was arrested on a charge of serving alcohol to a minor. Mr. Ashby claims that he was transported to the police department in the rear compartment of an animal transportation vehicle, which was filled with animal refuse and had no seating area. Mr. Ashby claims that he was held at the station for six (6) hours and released. The charge against David Ashby of serving alcohol to a minor was heard on East Orange Municipal Court on November 15, 1999 and dismissed after a short trial. The defendants vociferously denied the allegations. The matter proceeded to trial before Judge Leath in Essex County in February of 2007 and after two weeks of trial, resulted in a verdict in favor of the defense on plaintiff’s claims of malicious prosecution, abuse of process and assault.