A Camden man who was punched in the head repeatedly during a violent encounter with police three years ago has reached a $300,000 settlement with the now ex-officer.

Edward Minguela will receive the money from an insurance company on behalf of Nicholas Romantino, who was acquitted in September 2019 by a federal jury of using excessive force on Minguela, who he had mistaken for a gunman.

Camden County spokesman Dan Keashen said that Minguela’s attorney had created a “false narrative” surrounding the settlement, by continuing to reference the county and its police department, which had been dismissed from the settlement.

Romantino, of Egg Harbor Township, “has not worked or been paid by the department since the night of the incident,” Keashen said in a written statement to New Jersey 101.5.

“The county has never provided or paid for a defense of the officer in question and originally sent the incident to be reviewed for criminal intent to multiple law enforcement agencies including the U.S. Attorney who tried the officer twice in federal court,” Keashen said, repeating that the county “has no liability in this case.”

The officer had been suspended without pay since the February 2018 arrest and videotaped assault of Minguela. The officer was eventually fired, according to county officials.

Body camera footage first obtained by NJ.com shows the moments right before and after Minguela was taken to the sidewalk by Romantino and punched repeatedly.

In the video, Minguela, while lying handcuffed on the ground, is heard saying, “Why you hit me like that, bro?”

Moments later, another officer says, "He's always giving us a hard time, that guy," to which Romantino responds, "Not anymore."

 

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