T R E N T O N, N.J., Feb. 2 -- State officials have agreed to pay $12.95 millionto settle a lawsuit filed by three men who were wounded in the 1998shooting on the New Jersey Turnpike and a fourth man who wasdriving the van they were riding in.
The amount was disclosed by attorneys for the four men at a NewYork news conference today. Aides to lead attorney Johnnie CochranJr. had disclosed the settlement earlier in the day.
In the settlement, the state did not admit liability nor did itdeny liability, according to the lawyers.
But plaintiffs' attorney Peter Neufeld said, "We think thatmoney speaks volumes about what happened that night."
Lawyers Cochran, Neufeld and Barry Scheck, as well as severalNew Jersey attorneys, filed suit in April 1999, accusing the statepolice and the two troopers of violating the young men'sconstitutional rights by shooting them without provocation. Thelawyers for the four men — Danny Reyes, Rayshawn Brown, LeRoyJarmaine Grant and Keshon Moore — have said in the past all fourwould share a settlement.
Touched Off Racial Profiling Furor
The lawsuit alleged Troopers John Hogan and James Kenna pulledthe van over solely because the occupants are minorities. Three ofthe men are black and one is Hispanic. Cochran said he had intendedto make state police patterns of racial profiling — stoppingmotorists just because they are black — a key focus of his civilcase.
The four men were traveling to North Carolina Central Universityto showcase their basketball skills in hopes of a scholarship whenthey were pulled over by Hogan and Kenna near Interchange 7A inMercer County. Moore, who was driving, is black.
The shooting and the subsequent disclosure of arrest records onthe turnpike touched off a furor over racial profiling. A specialprosecutor got indictments for attempted murder against Hogan andKenna, but the charge was later dropped for Hogan. He still facesaggravated assault and other charges related to the shooting.