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Aziz v. Elizabeth Police Department

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

May 8, 2015

ABDUL AZIZ, Plaintiff,
v.
ELIZABETH POLICE DEPARTMENT, et al., Defendants.

OPINION

KEVIN McNULTY, District Judge.

I. INTRODUCTION

Plaintiff, Abdul Aziz, is currently detained at the Union County Jail in Union, New Jersey. Mr. Aziz is proceeding pro se with a civil rights complaint filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and state law. This matter was previously administratively terminated as Mr. Aziz's application to proceed in forma pauperis was incomplete. Mr. Aziz has now filed a second application to proceed in forma pauperis. Thus, the Clerk will be ordered to reopen this case. The application will be granted and the Clerk will be ordered to file the complaint.

The Court must review the complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B) and 1915A to determine whether it should be dismissed as frivolous or malicious, for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or because it seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from suit. For the reasons set forth below, the federal claims will be dismissed without prejudice for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. The Court will also decline to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over Mr. Aziz's state law claims.

II. BACKGROUND

The allegations of the complaint will be construed as true for purposes of this screening. The complaint names the following defendants: (1) Elizabeth Police Department; (2) James Cosgrove; (3) Linda Lensch; (5) Humerto Alvarez; (6) Paul McCrae; (7) Johnny Arrante; (8) Niami Guillame; and (9) unknown Officer #3.

Mr. Aziz's claims center on an incident that occurred at the Elizabeth Police Department Headquarters on July 11, 2011. Mr. Aziz states that he walked into the Elizabeth Police Department headquarters on July 11, 2011 to report an incident that had just occurred. The incident involved the shooting of his girlfriend. Defendant Alvarez was sitting at the reception desk. Mr. Aziz was then checked for outstanding warrants by Alvarez. A verbal altercation between Alvarez and Mr. Aziz then ensued whereby Alvarez yelled at him and told him to leave.

Mr. Aziz left the police headquarters but returned shortly thereafter. Mr. Aziz then explained his situation to a new officer, McCrae. As McCrae was checking Mr. Aziz's identification, Alvarez returned and spoke to McCrae. After their brief discussion, McCrae returned to Mr. Aziz and dismissed and discounted his report. Mr. Aziz then states that he became frustrated and agitated at this point. Subsequently, a third unnamed officer intervened and took down Mr. Aziz's information and identification.

Nonetheless, Mr. Aziz was once again sent off by the Elizabeth Police. Mr. Aziz states that it was only when the police received a 911 call that they realized that Mr. Aziz's initial report was credible. Subsequently, on July 16, 2011, Mr. Aziz was arrested for the murder of his girlfriend. Mr. Aziz states that it was only after the 911 call that the Elizabeth Police began their "cover-up."

Mr. Aziz has also attached to his complaint an investigation report by the Union County Prosecutor's Office, dated October 28, 2011. The report states that on July 17, 2011, the prosecutor's office was notified that Mr. Aziz had advised the desk officer on July 11, 2011 that he had shot his girlfriend, but was turned away. The report indicates that internal affairs obtained a DVD copy of the surveillance footage from the Elizabeth Police Department Main desk area for July 11, 2011. According to the report, the internal affairs officer spoke to McCrae, Arrante, and Guillame, who were near Alvarez when Mr. Aziz was at police headquarters. The report states that none of them heard Mr. Aziz tell Alvarez he shot his wife. The report relates that someone from the prosecutor's office interviewed Alvarez, who said that Mr. Aziz told him he had an outstanding warrant and wanted to be arrested. Alvarez checked for outstanding warrants but found none. Alvarez reported that, while Mr. Aziz did say something about his girlfriend, he was not more specific, and that Alvarez assumed it was a domestic violence matter.

Mr. Aziz also names as defendants James Cosgrove and Sergeant Linda Lensch who are Elizabeth Police Department ranking officers. He claims that they have obstructed and refused to cooperate in an active internal affairs investigation. Mr. Aziz claims that they have refused requests to provide Mr. Aziz with the entire and unedited video surveillance tapes of the Elizabeth Police Department's lobby and courtyard area between the hours of 19:00-21:00. He further asserts that Lensch intercepted a letter from him to the watch commander and redirected it to the Assistant Prosecutor. Mr. Aziz states that he got a copy of the Union County Prosecutor's Office investigation report on October 8, 2014.

Mr. Aziz seeks to have this Court "prosecute" the officers for knowingly and purposefully refusing to perform their duties. He also seeks monetary damages in the amount of $5.5 million.

III. STANDARD OF REVIEW

A. Standard for Sua Sponte ...


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