NJ Teen Locked in Police Van for Hours Files Lawsuit

Thursday, Jan 3, 2013  |  Updated 11:35 AM EDT
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Five Teens Locked in Police Van for Hours

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Five Teens Locked in Police Van for Hours

Five New Jersey teens say they were locked in a police van for 14 hours in freezing temperatures, abandoned by police.
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A New Jersey teen has filed a lawsuit against Fort Lee, N.J. after he and four other teens were locked inside a police van for nearly 15 hours without food, water or access to a bathroom, a story NBC 4 New York first broke last year.

Adam Kim, 17, was among a group of 20 teens who were rounded up in Fort Lee when neighbors complained about a loud house party in March. Several teens, including Kim, were driven away in a van. Then, as temperatures dropped into the 20s and 30s, they were forgotten.

“Despite yelling, screaming, and banging on the walls of the van, the Fort Lee Police officers failed to respond to cries of the minors," the lawsuit reads, according to the Daily News. "Plaintiff Adam Kim and others were hopeless, traumatized and exhausted.”

Officials only realized what had happened after a passerby heard screams and banging from the police van where the five teens were trapped.

In addition to the borough, the lawsuit also names the Fort Lee Police Department and a dozen officers, charging that police violated Kim’s rights and unlawfully detained him.

According to the News, the suit also alleges the teens were discriminated against because they were Asian-American and that officers reportedly referred to them as “chinks.”

Nearly a dozen Fort Lee police officers were disciplined after the incident, reprimanded through demotion, suspension without pay or a combination of the two. An internal investigation found that the officers did not act with malice or discrimination.

The Fort Lee Police Department had no immediate comment.
 

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