Family of shot teen to file suit

Boy left hospital Thursday
January 17, 2008 2:51:40 PM PST
The family of a teenager left partially paralyzed after being shot by police in Roselle has filed a notice of intent to sue the borough for more than $25 million. Sanford Rubenstein, an attorney representing the family of 16-year-old Marquise Randle, said the notice was delivered by certified letter to Roselle officials on Tuesday.

Randle left the hospital Thursday, having regained movement in his legs. He is able to walk with crutches.

But Rubenstein says Randle still has bullet and bone fragments in his spine that are causing "severe pain" and could delay surgery for several months.

Randle, who celebrated his 17th birthday last month, was wounded in a November 16th shooting. He'll continue outpatient treatment at a branch of the Children's Specialized Hospital in Mountainside and at Newark's University Hospital.

Rubenstein stressed that the notice was filed to protect the family's rights. Under New Jersey law, a notice of tort claim must be filed within 90 days of an incident.

"What the family wants is justice," he said. "They are cooperating with prosecutors. This notice was filed to fulfill statutory requirements."

Randle was shot after being pursued into an alley by Roselle police who had responded to a report of potential drug activity at an apartment building.

Authorities said Randle remained in a crouched position and refused to show his hands to the officers. He was shot in the stomach by Officer Craig Howlett, who had drawn his gun but had not meant to fire, Union County Prosecutor Theodore Romankow and police have said.

The gun discharged as Howlett and other officers tried to pull Randle off the ground, authorities said.

That account has been disputed by Randle's mother, Khisha Bethea, who is a police officer in Plainfield. She said her son raised both of his hands up to the officer.

Randle was described by his father, Jermaine Randle, as a star athlete on the track team and football team at Plainfield High School.

Howlett is named in the notice along with the borough of Roselle, the police department, Chief of Police Dennis Kelleher and two unnamed Roselle police officers.

The claim lists $25 million for Marquise Randle's pain, suffering and loss of future earning capacity and $1 million each for his parents.

Kelleher and Roselle Mayor Garrett Smith could not be reached for comment Wednesday evening.