NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—City taxpayers may be surprised to learn they are paying for the legal defense of a police officer accused of killing an unarmed man, but they are.
At their Thursday night meeting, the New Brunswick City Council unanimously approved resolutions authorizing $6,684.50 to pay for attorneys for legal representation of two officers involved in a controversial police killing.
Brad Berdel, who fired the shots that killed Barry Deloatch on September 22, 2011, has retained Mitzner & Mitzner, a law firm based in Watchung, to defend him in relation to the criminal investigation into the shooting incident.
Deloatch was unarmed and much smaller than the officers who cornered him in a backyard on Throop Avenue.
The bills from Mitzner & Mitzner so far have come to $3,700.
As we reported in May, Berdel was not indicted by a regular grand jury following a case presented by Middlesex County Prosecutor Bruce Kaplan. The no-bill decision means that Berdel can return to work at the New Brunswick Police Department.
Daniel Mazan is a former Rutgers football player who did not fire his gun but was Berdel's partner on the night in question. He has hired an attorney based in New Brunswick to defend him in the civil suit that may be filed by Deloatch's two adult sons.
Lawrence Bitterman is the most popular choice of legal representation for New Brunswick police officers facing civil suits or criminal charges.
Bitterman's bills for the civil case are already at $2,984.50. And in both cases city taxpayers are footing the bill, in accordance with the police department's contract.