Appellate court upholds ruling that JCPD acted properly in incidents leading to baby’s death

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The state appellate court upheld the lower court’s ruling in a case where the Jersey City Police Department was accused of negligence in an incident where an ex-boyfriend pushed a woman and their infant son out of a three-story window, causing the baby to die back in 2012.

Frederico Bruno. Photo via the New Jersey Department of Corrections.

By Corey McDonald/Hudson County View

The ruling, issued on March 23, brings an end to a lawsuit brought against Jersey City, the police department and its former police chief that alleged that negligent acts inadvertently resulted in the grisly assault of the two women in July 2012.

Frederico Bruno, an ex-boyfriend of Saydee Lee Figueroa, let himself into her apartment on July 27th, 2012. He stabbed both her and her roommate, Madelyn Calderon, and then pushed Figueroa through an apartment window as she held their infant son.

They fell three three stories, and while both women survived, the three-month-old boy, Damien, died five days later.

Bruno, who was 19 at the time of the horrific attack, was later found guilty of felony murder of Damien, attempted murder of Figueroa and Calderon, aggravated assault of both women and weapons offenses in 2015.

He is serving a 113-year sentence in New Jersey State Prison in Trenton, according to the New Jersey Department of Corrections. According to their website, he has been in custody since August 6th, 2015.

The two women later filed their lawsuit against the city, citing two instances where they say Bruno should have been arrested prior to his fatal attack.

Bruno had had an outstanding warrant out for his arrest, and had an active restraining order. Days before the attack, he appeared at the Jersey City police station to make inquiries concerning any open arrest warrants, but was ultimately let go.

The trial judge in September 2017 originally said that the cause of action for failure to serve the restraining order should be dismissed.

According to the appellate court’s decision, “the plaintiffs did not present any evidence that the restraining order was ever sent to or received by the JCPD … [and] further found that the claim based on the failure to accurately answer Bruno’s station house inquiry about open warrants must be dismissed because it amounted to a claim that the officer erred by failing to detain Bruno and compel him to provide identifying information.”

“Based upon these statutory provisions, plaintiffs argue that a jury could find that defendants had constructive knowledge of the (restraining order) entered by the court. We cannot agree,” Appellate Judges Joseph Tannotti, Richard Hoffman, and Heidi Willis Courier wrote in last week’s decision.

“Here, the trial judge correctly found that defendants cannot be found liable for failing to serve a restraining order that they did not receive or could not access on the central registry’s database.”

The complaint had argued that they did not have to prove that the restraining order actually was entered into the central registry’s database or faxed to the JCPD before July 27th, 2012.

Evelyn Padin, an attorney representing the plaintiffs, declined to comment.

Bruno, now 27, will not be eligible for parole until he is 93: which will be the year 2088.