The Jersey City Council will vote on a $3 million settlement for a man struck by a police vehicle while the officer was on duty, according to a copy of a resolution on Wednesday’s agenda.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
“This matter arises out of a February 8, 2022 motor vehicle accident wherein Plaintiff asserted he suffered various injuries when he was allegedly hit by a police vehicle operated by defendant police officer Edwin Hernandez while jogging across Jersey Avenue,” a description of the resolution says.
“Through mediation, Plaintiff agreed to settle this matter for a total payment of $3,000,000. Upon conducting a thorough assessment of the file, facts and the relevant law together with conferring with a retired judge who served as a mediator, a jury could plausibly render a verdict substantially in excess of the amount of the settlement. Therefore, given the risks, costs and possible outcome associated with trial, Corporation Counsel recommends this settlement be approved.”
The local legislation also indicates that the city’s joint insurance fund will cover the cost, as well as that the settlement will dismiss all claims against the city without any admission of wrongdoing.
Through his attorney Adam B. Lederman, a partner at the Teaneck-based law firm Davis, Saperstein, & Salomon, P.C., Jersey City resident Douglas Salom filed a lawsuit on November 11th, 2022, stating that Police Officer Edwin Hernandez struck him with his vehicle while on duty earlier that year.
” … Salom was violently struck and was caused to suffer severe and permanent injuries to multiple parts of his body, did suffer and will in the future continue to suffer great pain and anguish; was caused to seek and will in the future be caused to seek medical and hospital treatment …” the suit says.
Hernandez was fired over the incident, caught on a dashboard camera, on August 4th, 2023, but he appealed (raising $38,670 via a GoFundMe page) and was eventually reinstated by the department, public records show.
“Edwin Hernandez was involved in an incident on 2/8/2022 where he was backing up a superior officer during an emergent situation. It was during that time that Edwin Hernandez unintentionally struck a pedestrian,” the GoFundMe page description.
“Due to this incident Edwin was charged with several motor vehicle violations which on April 4, 2023 lead to his unfortunate dismissal from the Jersey City Police Department. This was extreme punishment handed down to Edwin. Edwin was a dedicated police officer who loved the job and went above and beyond to make sure he did the right thing.”
City spokeswoman Kimberly Wallace-Scalcione confirmed that Hernandez has been reinstated, but declined to comment further since the matter is still pending.
“As you are aware, it is standard policy that we do not comment on ongoing litigation. However, it is public record that Officer Hernandez has been reinstated following a negotiated settlement,” she wrote in an email.
The council will convene for their caucus at City Hall, 280 Grove St., today at 4 p.m., which will also stream live on Microsoft Teams, while their regular meeting will be held on Wednesday at 6 p.m.
The agenda also includes settlements in three separate matters, including a civil suit from retired Deputy Chief David Goldrich and his wife, fellow retired officer Toni Wilczewski who claimed another officer defamed them, totals $270,000.
However, at today’s caucus, the governing body decided to postpone the vote in order to discuss the matters further in closed session.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect that the four settlement resolutions for Wednesday’s agenda will be voted on at a later date.