United States District Court, D. New Jersey
THE ESTATE OF RICHARD BARD and DANA GERMAN-BUNTON, as administrator ad-prosequendum of THE ESTATE OF RICHARD BARD, Plaintiffs,
THE CITY OF VINELAND, CHIEF RUDY BEU, FORMER CHIEF TIMOTHY CODISPOTI, and JOHN DOE POLICE OFFICERS 1-10, Defendants.
J. BENEDETTO, MELISSA YVETTE HOFFMAN, LAW OFFICES OF CONRAD
J. BENEDETTO On behalf of Plaintiffs
MICHAEL BARKER, TODD J. GELFAND BARKER, GELFAND & JAMES
LINWOOD GREENE On behalf of Defendants
L. HILLMAN, U.S.D.J.
matter concerns claims by Plaintiff arising out of the
shooting death of her son by Defendant City of Vineland
police officers. Presently before the Court is the motion of
Defendants to dismiss Plaintiff's claims. For the reasons
expressed below, Defendants' motion will be granted in
part and denied in part.
Dana German-Bunton, the mother of Richard Bard, the decedent,
and the administratrix of her son's estate, filed a
seven-count complaint against the City of Vineland, its
current police chief, Rudy Beu, its former police chief,
Timothy Codispoti, and unnamed police officers involved in
the shooting. Plaintiff claims that the police officers
violated Bard's right to be free from the use of
excessive force, and the City of Vineland and the police
chiefs maintained a policy or custom that fostered the police
officers' use of excessive force, or the City and police
chiefs failed to properly train its officer on the
appropriate use of force, all in violation of the Fourth
Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and New Jersey Civil
Rights Act, N.J.S.A. 10:6-2(c). Plaintiff has also lodged
claims for wrongful death and negligence against Defendants.
of the factual allegations in Plaintiff's amended
complaint are as follows:
20. At the time of his death on April 17, 2016, Richard Bard
was thirty-one (31) years old.
21. Richard Bard had been involved in a motor vehicle
accident on January 13, 2013 wherein he sustained serious
injuries to his legs. Bard's injuries from the accident
included an opened fractured femur, a closed fractured femur,
rib contusions, a pulmonary contusion and pneumothorax, for
which the decedent had numerous surgeries.
22. Upon information and belief, based on his existing
injuries, it was not possible for Bard to walk and even less,
23. On April 16, 2016, decedent Richard Bard and his
girlfriend Ebony Bonner attended a birthday party at a
friend's home located at the Walnut Villa Complex on
Florence Avenue in Vineland, New Jersey.
24. At around 11:30 p.m., Richard Bard and an individual
named Jonathan Bain agreed to leave the party and walk
together to get cigarettes from another resident at the
Walnut Villa Complex.
25. It is alleged by the Vineland police that around 1 a.m.
on April 17, 2016, Richard Bard and Jonathon Bain were
involved in a robbery of an individual near Seventh and
Cherry Streets in Vineland.
26. It is further alleged that Richard Bard and Jonathon Bain
fled and were chased by the police.
27. A responding officer, who has remained unnamed, shot
Richard Bard four times before Bard fell to the ground near
East Avenue and Almond Street in Vineland. Of the four shots,
two struck the decedent.
28. After the shooting, EMS were called. When EMS arrived,
Bard was found unconscious laying on the side of road in a
pool of blood. He had sustained two gunshot wounds, including
one gunshot wound ...