A man who wouldn’t give Mount Olive police permission to search his car for drugs has settled his false arrest and excessive force suit for $60,000.
The news was first reported by NJ Civil Settlement, which provides a partial list of settlements paid by New Jersey government agencies and their insurers to those who have sued them.
The April 19, 2012 incident began when a Mount Olive cop pulled over Carl J. Granese’s red Volkswagen at 3:30 p.m. for failing to signal a lane change and maintain his lane on Route 46 west.
Granese passed field sobriety tests, but officer Anthony Gardner said he smelled marijuana and became agitated when Granese wouldn’t consent to a search of his car, according to the suit.
The suit alleged a sergeant arrived a short while later and granted Granese permission to place a call with his cell phone. Gardner then ordered Granese not to use it, taking him to the ground and cuffing him, according to the suit.
A Morris County K-9 Unit that showed up soon after found no drugs in the car, the suit says.
The Flanders resident, now 25, was charged with resisting arrest, obstruction and motor vehicle violations. He was later convicted of the motor vehicle offenses and obstruction charges, but acquitted of resisting arrest.
In August 2013, Judge Mary Gibbons Whipple overturned Granese’s obstruction of justice conviction. In her ruling, Whipple aid she was “appalled by the conduct of the police,” and described it as “rather disturbing.”
Gardner, who began working for the Mount Olive police in 2008 is now a detective for the department.