VIDEO: Town denies wrongdoing by North Haven police officer in scooter chase

VIDEO: Town denies wrongdoing by North Haven police officer in scooter chase

reporter photo

The town is moving forward on a motion for summary judgment in a civil case involving a North Haven police officer. 

Jose M. Santini, of New Haven, alleges Officer James Brennan struck him with his cruiser while pursuing him on Middletown Avenue on June 21, 2015. Santini was thrown from the scooter he was riding and injured, according to court documents. He began legal action against Brennan and the Town of North Haven about a year ago.

The town denies Santini’s claims that Brennan pursued him at a high rate of speed and acted negligent or careless, court documents state. 

“We deny any and all liability,” said Attorney James Tallberg with Karsten & Tallberg, LLC. He declined to comment further due to pending litigation. 

Karsten & Tallberg, the law firm representing Brennan and the town, filed a motion for summary judgment on Aug. 27 and a motion to include Exhibit C, a DVD containing police dash camera footage of the incident, in the judgment. The motion to include the dashcam footage was granted on Friday, Oct. 5.

The law firm representing Santini filed an objection to the motion for summary judgment last Friday. The two sides will meet to make their arguments for and against a summary judgment, and the court will decide whether indisputable evidence was provided to move forward with a written judgment or instead to send the case to trial. 

“The video contained in the exhibit shows that Officer Brennan’s conduct on June 21, 2015 did not constitute an illegal pursuit and should be viewed by the Court in its analysis of the defendants’ motion for summary judgment,” states court documents. “Additionally, as plaintiff was the proximate cause of the collision and his subsequent injuries, he cannot maintain his negligence or property damage claim. As such, the defendants are entitled to summary judgment on all claims in this case.”

Court documents describe the dashcam footage showing Brennan using lights and sirens in a pursuit of Santini on his moped for about 1.5 miles. Footage shows Santini refusing to pull over and making “angry gestures” toward the officer. 

“As plaintiff (Santini) approached Scarboro Street, Officer Brennan angled his car in an attempt to guide plaintiff down Scarboro Street. Instead of turning onto Scarboro Street, plaintiff continued heading straight on Middletown Avenue, which caused him to collide with Officer Brennan’s police cruiser ... The collision caused plaintiff to fall off of his moped and sustain various injuries as alleged in his complaint,” court documents state. 

An offer of compromise was filed on Tuesday, Oct. 2, from Santini, represented by Balzano & Tropiano PC. The attorney representing Santini could not be reached for comment. 

The town’s attorneys have 30 days to accept or reject the offer for compromise in the amount of $100,000.
Twitter: @baileyfaywright

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