A Korean American teenager from Fort Lee, N.J., is suing the city’s police department, the former police chief and several other officers for false arrest and civil rights violations, after he and others were left in a freezing police van overnight, according to news reports.
Adam Kim was one of five teenagers who were locked inside a police van for more than 14 hours without food or water, according to the complaint. NJ.com reported that Kim and about a dozen others were arrested after a house party was broken up.
At around midnight on the morning of March 25, 2011, Kim was among a number of teens at a party on Arcadian Way where police responded to a noise complaint. According to the suit, the majority of the party’s attendees were Asian-American, and Kim’s attorney claims that officers showed a clear racial bias toward them and referred to them as “chinks”.
As a result of the complaint, Kim and 11 other teens were detained, and taken to police headquarters in the back of a department-issued van.
Police released seven but left Kim and four others in the van after confiscating their cell phones and apparently forgot they were still in the van. An elderly passerby noticed them and called police, according to NJ.com. The lawsuit states that Kim and the others endured sub-freezing temperatures and were forced to urinate in the van.
As a result of the incident, the Fort Lee Police Department demoted one officer and disciplined three others. Police Chief Thomas Ripoli recently retired from the force due to mandatory age restrictions.