An East Orange woman, who alleged the East Orange Police Department had violated her constitutional and civil rights in 2001, was awarded $300,000 by an Essex County jury last Monday.
Esmay Parchment was showering in her home on a Sunday morning in February of 2001 when she heard intense banging at her front door. The elderly woman, dressed in a towel only, answered the door. The police entered the home, arrested her, and proceeded to kick and slap the naked women while she lay in handcuffs on the floor.
The Essex County Jury found that the East Orange Police officers had used excessive force and falsely arrested Ms. Parchment. The attorneys for the officers said that they plan to appeal the decision.
The lawyers for Ms. Parchment said that they were pleased with the verdict and felt that it sent a clear message to law enforcement concerning the constitutional and civil rights of citizens.
The legal battle lasted nearly nine years, and victory was far from a certainty at many points, but it appears that justice was done. Although the facts of the case are not readily available, I would assume that the East Orange Police were at the home to serve a warrant of some sort. The warrant was probably not for Ms. Parchment. Possibly a family member. It is possible that she voiced her displeasure with the manner in which the police chose to handle the situation, and this led to a confrontation. Nonetheless, the police need to use common sense and it is evident that they probably did not in this situation.