January 14, 2013
The City of Camden has agreed to pay $3.5 million in damages to 88 people whose convictions were overturned because of widespread corruption in the Camden Police Department. The settlement stems from a series of lawsuits filed against Camden Police in federal district court and state superior court over the last two years, after five officers were charged with a number of federal civil rights violations from conduct involving evidence planting, fabrication of reports and evidence, and perjury.
The American Civil Liberties Union and ACLU of New Jersey filed one of those lawsuits on behalf of Joel Barnes, a Camden resident who was arrested in 2008 after police planted drugs on him.
“This prolonged campaign to plant evidence on innocent people was a true stain on Camden Police and represents one of the most serious forms of police corruption,” said Alexander Shalom, policy counsel for the ACLU-NJ. “Unfortunately, the systems that are designed to prevent corruption and protect the public eroded and allowed rogue officers to operate unabated for years.”