Man shot by Bayonne police after theft at gas station files notice of lawsuit

A Jersey City man who was shot by Bayonne police after a gas station theft in July plans to sue the city and the city’s police department.

Kelvin Ortiz, through attorney Joel Silberman, has filed a filed a notice of claim with Bayonne “alleging injuries sustained resulting from being shot by Bayonne police officers” on July 13.

“We are still in the process of piecing together the facts and circumstances of this matter,” Silberman told The Jersey Journal Thursday. “It appears that a routine traffic stop in which Mr. Ortiz was fully cooperative with the officers by providing all documentation devolved into the officer’s indiscriminately shooting at Mr. Ortiz’s vehicle, striking him.”

The 35-year-old Ortiz is still recovering from being shot in the face and has yet to make his first court appearance on the charges of aggravated assault (four counts), eluding, unlawful possession of a weapon and possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose.

Officials with the city and the Bayonne Police Department declined to comment, citing policy regarding ongoing litigation.

Authorities say police responded at 6:45 a.m. to a report of someone filling their tank and leaving without paying at a gas station at 53rd Street near Avenue E. When they located Ortiz at a parking lot in the area of Broadway and 54th Street and approached him, Ortiz fled in his vehicle, striking police vehicles and an unoccupied civilian vehicle, authorities said at the time.

Ortiz was shot after he targeted the officers with his vehicle, police said in radio transmissions, but authorities have not said if Ortiz struck the vehicles before or after he was shot.

“The attorney general has established strict guidelines for this type of officer conduct. Here, the officer’s conduct is in total contravention of the guidelines,” Silberman said. “In an eerily similar case in Jersey City which ended in a fiery crash, officers were admonished and charged criminally.

“We hope that this matter is considered through a similar lens. We are just grateful Mr. Ortiz is recovering and no innocent civilians were hurt by the officers improper and indiscriminate shooting.”

Silberman was referring to the 2017 incident in which a driver being pursued by Jersey City police struck another vehicle on Route 1&9. The driver of the second vehicle, Miguel Feliz-Rodriguez, suffered serious injuries and eventually settled his lawsuit against the city for $6.95 million.

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