Bridgeton, NJ – The father of a man who died in a car crash while fleeing from troopers is suing the state police and city police officers for allegedly causing his son’s death.
Troy Brooks has accused state and local police of chasing after his son, 21-year-old Devonte Brooks, in “retaliation” for Devonte’s earlier offenses, and said they used “excessive and deadly force” by pursuing him, The Star-Ledger reported.
New Jersey State Police (NJSP) called off the pursuit prior to the fatal collision, but Troy’s lawsuit alleged that the officers “drove him to his death.”
The incident occurred on Jan. 13, 2017, after a Lincoln Continental crashed into Bridgeton Police Detective Jeffrey Scull as he was conducting a traffic stop, then fled the scene, The Star-Ledger reported.
The officer was treated for minor injuries, and police began searching for the vehicle involved in the collision.
Later that night, a NJSP trooper spotted Devonte’s Lincoln traveling on Greenwich Road and tried to pull him over.
Devonte refused to stop, leading to a brief high-speed pursuit at speeds that exceeded 100 miles per hour, The Star-Ledger reported.
The trooper ultimately lost sight of Devonte’s vehicle and terminated the pursuit, according to the Daily Journal.
Shortly thereafter, Bridgeton police discovered that Devonte slammed his vehicle into a utility pole near mile marker 25.7 on Route 49, The Star-Ledger reported.
Devonte died of his injuries.
Troy claimed that when he arrived at the scene of the collision, a trooper “spit at [his] feet,” and told him that his son should have pulled over, according to the lawsuit.
Troy said he asked another trooper why they didn’t just call the pursuit off.
“We don’t have to call nothing off,” the trooper replied, according to Troy.
Troy alleged that the officers were retaliating against his son, who had also eluded police during a traffic stop a week or two earlier.
He said that the officers may have also had other “intentional or reckless reasons” for initiating the pursuit, the Daily Journal reported.
Troy alleged that, by pursuing Devonte, the officers used “excessive and deadly force,” and violated his son’s constitutional rights.
“Defendants pursued decedent and drove him to his death by initiating, continuing, and/or by not terminating a dangerous high-speed chase,” the suit read, according to The Star-Ledger.
The lawsuit seeks punitive damage, interest, compensatory damages, legal costs, and attorney’s fees, the Daily Journal reported.
The Cumberland County Prosecutor’s Office reviewed the fatal crash incident, and determined that no further investigation was warranted, according to The Star-Ledger.
The case was closed in April of 2017.