Camden Cops Sued Over Drug-Swallowing Death

Family says officers caused plastic bag full of drugs to get lodged in man's throat after he swallowed it.

Family of a New Jersey man who choked to death after swallowing a plastic bag full of drugs is suing Camden police and the city of Camden, saying the arresting officers did not try to save the man.

The family of 32-year-old Jorge Rivera of Pemberton Township claims that Camden officers arresting Rivera not only failed to try to dislodge the plastic bag from his throat, but continued to beat the man as he choked to death April 22, 2009, reports the Courier Post.

While a grand jury voted to take no action against the officers in July 2009, Rivera’s family says that though the man did try to swallow a bag of drugs as officers approached him, it was the officers’ “excessive force [that] caused the plastic bag to become lodged in Rivera’s throat causing him to asphyxiate and die," the lawsuit states, according to the Courier Post.

Because witnesses and police gave very different accounts of what happened that day, Rivera’s death has been a controversy in the North Camden community, reports the Courier Post.

Witnesses at the scene said that police kicked and punched the man after he was handcuffed. Police said Rivera resisted arrest.

Contact Us