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$275K Settlement for Brick Man Shot by Police

Salim Cofi pleaded guilty to a lesser charge in drug case

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.

Ryan Meyers August 13, 2012 at 10:48 AM
Regardless of a "business decison" not to go to trial, the township should pursue these cases aggressively. When it's learned this police department won't just roll over and pay, lawyers will think twice before undertaking the expense. Covert by just about every cops opinion, has his act together and is a first rate cop. If the officer was correct and the offender is wrong, stop with the hand outs. Would be interesting if the Patch revealed more about who the other individual was, that was arrested with him.
WMS826 August 13, 2012 at 11:54 AM
My guess is that Salim will be be broke by January living on KFC and fruit punch again. Zero tolerence Brick PD..stop everything that moves and hammer every violation out there and your problems will take care of its self.
Glenn August 13, 2012 at 11:55 AM
It's the insurance company's decision, not the police department's.
GM August 13, 2012 at 12:44 PM
Attorney's make me sick and so does this.
Bertha August 13, 2012 at 12:54 PM
it looks like crime does pay. Next time we should go to cort, at least make him work for his money.
Jerry Belle August 13, 2012 at 01:01 PM
I agree with you Ryan, but when the insurance carriers think about paying out $2 million in a jury case to just one individual they all start thinking about settlements. The truth, regarding whether or not anything was done improperly or with wrongdoing, is secondary to the money aspect. The insurance companies can pay 7 individuals with that $2 million at $275K settlements - that's the sad bottom line.
cam August 13, 2012 at 01:04 PM
If it was found in court that the cop did nothing wrong, why would they pay him a dime? And it says that this guy was picked up on a cocaine posession charge and pleaded out on a disorderly person offense with no jail time....nice. The judicial system is such a joke.
Mark Wauben August 13, 2012 at 01:14 PM
...settling out of court seems to be the norm these days...perhaps if this criminal drug dealing felon suffers from mental anguish, he should be placed in a mental institution.
J.JONES August 13, 2012 at 01:43 PM
Stop his food stamps...he has money now..!!
J.JONES August 13, 2012 at 01:44 PM
He will be in jail soon on drug charges..
Joseph Woolston Brick August 13, 2012 at 02:44 PM
Insurance companies no longer trust juries. A burglar in California decided to gain entry to a place he was robbing through a skylight, the skylight was faulty and he fell through and sued, the idiot jury agreed with him and awarded him a few million for his pain and suffering. Not if I had been on that jury, the guy was committing a crime and trespassing, if he had not been where he was, he wouldn't have been injured. If the Brick case had gone to trial, you never know if some of the people on the jury had it in for cops or not, in today's environment it's risky to go to trial, people don't think they way they used to, ya know with intelligence.
fedup August 13, 2012 at 02:45 PM
sum bags like this should not get a dime that is why we are in a major proverty level ins co should be ashame of them selfs
common sense August 13, 2012 at 03:51 PM
Hopefully he uses the money for good.Like putting enough up his nose to stop his heart.
MARWG August 13, 2012 at 04:12 PM
Bright spot....after legal fees.....taxes ....delinquent child support payments and liens are deducted. After the prequisite jewelry and chrome wheels and Hennessy are purchased, this individual will be moving out of Brick unless he has already done so out of fear of the community.
Jerry Belle August 13, 2012 at 05:05 PM
Your reply sounded like the line from Liar, Liar - the movie starring Jim Carey. But a quick search showed an interesting back story to the case of the burglar who fell through a skylight. http://overlawyered.com/2006/09/the-burglar-and-the-skylight-another-debunking-that-isnt/
Mark Wauben August 13, 2012 at 05:12 PM
...its a sad state of affairs...but eventually it will catch up to him...bad karma
Sam August 13, 2012 at 08:20 PM
Unfortunately the town's hands are tied due to the tort system in NJ. It is one of the easiet states to sue. All a plantiff has to receive is $1.00 and all the lawyers fees are paid. Now ask yourself how hard is it for one of these low lifes to receive at least one dollar from a jury. Therfore you have any ambulance chasing attorney taking these cases because its an GURANTEED payday. Untill all the lawyers that get elected in Trenton politics, change the system these towns will be getting robbed for insurance money. Imagine that happening. Remember when you vote.
So Much to Say August 13, 2012 at 09:01 PM
I have 2 opinions here....(1) when a cop says "stop or I'll shoot", anyone with half a brain STOPS. (2) He had a crappy lawyer.
Mrs. G. August 14, 2012 at 01:21 AM
What is wrong with this picture?
Joseph Woolston Brick August 14, 2012 at 01:56 AM
The actual case that I heard was on the radio during a news broadcast some years ago, during the broadcast they were discussing law suits, it was around the time of the woman who was suing McDonalds for the hot coffee situation, the lawyer being interviewed on that broadcast, brought up the California burglar story. Which I'm sure is out there on Google somewhere.
kitchen1 August 14, 2012 at 02:27 AM
This makes me sick, MARWG said it the best, He be living large now. He will be back to sell drugs in one year when hes broke !!!!!!!!!!
2much2say August 14, 2012 at 05:34 PM
Unbelievable! Nothing surprises me anymore. This world is really unfortunate for the youth these days. Forget us old folk, but really? What's the lesson learned here? F-up sell drugs get caught and get a huge payout. Come on!

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