Metro Weekly

Jersey City man sues police for alleged anti-gay beating as part of wrongful arrest

Lawsuit claims police department violated Rudell Pruitt's rights because of his sexual orientation

Jersey City Armory – Photo: Jim Henderson, via Wikimedia.

A New Jersey man is suing the Jersey City police department, alleging that two officers violated his civil rights when they unlawfully arrested him, beat him, and yelled an anti-gay slur at him.

Rudell Pruitt claims that he was walking on Gifford Avenue in Jersey City on May 17, 2017, when he was stopped by two police officers, John Ransom and Gabriel Moreano. Both officers proceeded to beat him while calling him an anti-gay slur and referring to him as “one of the girls,” reports The Jersey Journal.

The officers then allegedly searched, arrested, and imprisoned Pruitt without a warrant on charges of aggravated assault on a police officer, resisting arrest, and unlawful possession of suspected marijuana. Those charges were eventually dismissed.

Pruitt says that the beating he received at the officers’ hands left him with multiple bruises and triggered an asthma attack, according to an eight-page complaint filed in Hudson County Superior Court.

Pruitt claims he was targeted by the officers because of his race and sexuality.

“Defendants’ entire interaction would not have taken place with plaintiff if he had been perceived as a white ‘straight’ person,” the lawsuit reads. “Defendants so attacked and prosecuted Plaintiff because he was a perceived black “gay” and it was believed they could get away with said interaction, which might not be so easily overlooked if the Defendant’s victim were a straight adult or white female.”

Rudell Pruitt – Photo: Facebook.

The lawsuit also accuses Jersey City and its police department of failing to train the officers on what constitutes excessive use of force and the state’s civil rights laws, which prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation in places of public accommodation — which includes public sidewalks.

The lawsuit asks for monetary damages, both past and future, including interest and attorney’s fees.

Ransom was forced to retire last year after admitting he struck a man with his police car during a separate incident in Audubon Park, accorrding to NJ.com. 

A spokeswoman for Jersey City declined to comment on the lawsuit.

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