Chester police officers sued by man stopped on patrol

Chester. The new lawsuit is a federal case, and follows on the heels of an unrelated discrimination lawsuit brought against town officials.

09 Aug 2019 | 12:07

This is an updated story.

Two town of Chester police officers are being sued by a Warwick man who claims to be a Moorish national for allegedly harassing him during a traffic stop.

jeremiah Johnson El in his federal court complaint accuses officers Bruce Chambers and Robert Bird of violating both his rights under the U.S. Constitution and his "treaty rights" under a 1787 agreement between the United States and Morocco.

JohnSon El apparently does not have a lawyer. He filed pro se in the Southern District off New York.

A Chester official familiar with the litigation who asked not to be named told The Chronicle that the officers are white and that the man who was stopped is "a man of color."

According to Mr. Johnson EL's complaint, Chambers "made a comment that was negative regarding Plaintiff's indigenous status" after following him for a mile and then pulling him over.

Johnson El said the officers scoffed at his treaty rights, saying they did not apply under U.S. law. He said Chambers ripped his inspection sticker off the window and then gave him a ticket for not having one. All together, he said they issued him two tickets, making him an hour late for work.

Police Chief Daniel Doellinger said in a statement that it is the policy of the department "to withhold comments on pending litigation without approval of our attorneys. Our defense attorneys have not been assigned by our insurance company yet."

The new lawsuit follows on the heels of c suit against Chester officials, for derogatory comments made over the past few years against a housing development for Hasidic Jews, and for breech of contract against the developer.

The town board announced the Johnson El lawsuit after emerging from an executive session at their regular board meeting on July 24, 2019.