The New Jersey attorney general’s office will pay $425,000 to a mentally disabled man, James Bayliss, who was beaten by police officers during a May 2009 traffic stop.
"We’re glad to have closure, and I’m really ecstatic for my son," said Bayliss’ father, John, to The Newark Star-Ledger. "If it wasn’t for The Star-Ledger writing a story, this would have been washed under the carpet and nothing would have happened."
Robert Woodruff, an attorney for James Bayliss, confirmed the settlement to the paper Wendesday, in which Bayliss agreed to drop his federal lawsuit against the troopers and the state, which admitted no wrongdoing.
According The Star-Ledger:
On an early May morning in 2009, after the State Police had searched through the night for two burglary suspects in Warren County, they stopped a car Bayliss was riding in and asked him to step outside so he could be searched.
The video of the stop showed Bayliss standing against the car as Staff Sgt. Richard Wambold Jr. frisked him. Seconds later, after what appears to be a slight movement, Wambold threw Bayliss to the ground and punched him several times in the face.
A witness in a nearby home said in a sworn court deposition that she watched from her window as two troopers, later identified as Wambold and Trooper Keith Juckett, then rammed Bayliss’ head against the front of a parked patrol car.
Wambold claimed in his report on the incident in Mansfield Township Bayliss failed to listen to instructions, hid his hands, stared down troopers, tried to “head-butt” him during the frisk and then struck him once on the ground.
But Bayliss’ father said the troopers mistook his son’s disability — a severe brain injury from a 2005 car accident — for resistance. The driver of the car that morning warned troopers about the condition before the beating, according to The Star-Ledger.