A Brick man who was shot by a township police officer in 2009 during the execution of a search warrant at his apartment has settled his lawsuit against the township.
Salim Cofi, nicknamed "Ghost," was 27 when he was shot in the leg during the Jan. 8, 2009 raid. He will be paid $275,000 by the township's insurance carrier. He had been seeking $2 million, according to court filings obtained by Brick Patch.
The settlement was reached last month, documents show.
Cofi, who had been living in the Waterside Gardens apartment complex off Drum Point Road, was shot by Sgt. Terrance Covert during the execution of the warrant, the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office said at the time. He claimed in his lawsuit that he was unarmed.
The search warrant had been requested by the prosecutor's office as part of an investigation into weapons and drug activity, officials said. Cofi was arrested, and later indicted by a grand jury, on a cocaine possession charge, but pleaded down to a disorderly person's offense, court records show. He did not serve any jail time.
Covert's use of force was reviewed by the prosecutor's office, state attorney general and the Brick Police Department, as well as a grand jury, and he was cleared of any wrongdoing each time, said Brick Police Chief Nils R. Bergquist.
"All of those processes found that he acted appropriately," said Bergquist, who described Covert as a "decorated, competent officer and supervisor" who has commanded the Drug Enforcement Unit and currently commands the SET (Selective Enforcement Team) Unit.
Cofi sufferred a broken femur and underwent surgery the following day, but claimed in his lawsuit that the gunshot wound left him "permanently impaired" with several injuries to his lower body. The suit accused the police department of failing to arrange an ambulance pickup fast enough.
Cofi also claimed the incident caused him "mental anguish, shock, fright, apprehension, embarassment and humiliation" and that he was deprived of his constitutional rights.
Court records show Cofi pleaded guilty in 2001 – eight years before the shooting – to a narcotics distribution charge and served three years in prison. His roommate in the apartment, Harold Webb, had served time in prison on a weapons offense.
Bergquist said the township's insurance carrier made the decision to settle the case out of court.
"Those are business decisions that they make," he said.