hires former prosecutor who is expert in Civil Rights and police abuse cases

 -  -  21 has hired Joel Silberman, Esq. to represent owner David Sivella and three young men from this website, who were were wrongfully and unconstitutionally ejected from Lyndhurst Town Park last summer by Lyndhurst Police at the demand of Bergen County Sheriff’s Department Sergeant Anthony DiMaggio, his father, Commissioner Thomas DiMaggio, and Joyce DiMaggio, the Commissioner’s wife, among others (see past stories below).

Among Mr. Silberman’s recent cases:

Jersey City cop wrongfully arrested man at his engagement party, lawsuit alleges

Updated Jan 22, 5:26 PM; Posted Jan 22, 3:32 PM

By Michaelangelo Conte | The Jersey Journal

A Jersey City police officer previously accused of using his authority to resolve personal conflicts is the subject of a new lawsuit that alleges he arrested his neighbor on fabricated charges at the man’s own engagement party.

The lawsuit accuses police Lt. Keith Armstrong of arresting Gerald Guillaume in 2017 after the officer became fed up with the party next door. In the incident, which was caught on video, Guillaume was charged with assault on an officer, resisting arrest and failure to disperse, and lost his job as a result of the arrest, according to the lawsuit.

“Mr. (Gerald) Guillaume is yet another victim of Officer Armstrong’s decades-long pattern of abusing people’s rights,” said attorney Joel Silberman, who filed the suit against Armstrong and a second officer, Keith. Sampson. “Mr. Guillaume and the citizens of Jersey City should not have to fear rogue officers like Armstrong.”

The lawsuit asserts that 28 complaints were filed against Armstrong between 1996 and 2006, most of which came from neighbors claiming he targeted them for minor infractions in the neighborhood. Last year, the city settled a separate lawsuit for $7,500 that accused Armstrong of manhandling a couple and arresting them following a road-rage incident.

Armstrong could not be reached for comment on the allegations contained in the new lawsuit. Jersey City spokesman did not return a request for comment.

The new lawsuit revolves around the May 28, 2017 engagement party in the area of Garfield Avenue and Eastern Parkway. Armstrong stopped in at the party, ate and had a couple of drinks. But as the day wore on, he became fed up with the gathering, the lawsuit alleges.

According to the complaint, Armstrong cursed at some children when they strayed from the party onto his driveway. He called police to complain about parking by party-goers and again to have the music turned off, the lawsuit states.

“The third time Armstrong called members of his police department he was hell-bent to assert his authority and have Plaintiff arrested,” the suit alleges.

A cellphone video from the incident shows Guillaume speaking with Armstrong in the street while surrounded by police and onlookers. He’s eventually led away in handcuffs, but no violence transpires during the two-minute video.

“In an effort to support these charges, Armstrong authored a whimsical police report,” the lawsuit continues. “Fortunately, cellphone footage captured plaintiff’s interaction with Armstrong which unequivocally demonstrates the utter dishonesty contained in the charges.”

Silberman said that after nearly two years, an internal affairs investigation into the matter is still not complete. He said the charges were immediately downgraded, but are still pending and have cost his client the job he was about to start as a state investigator of claims of abuse against the disabled. The official disposition of the case was not available Tuesday. 

The five-count lawsuit demands a jury trial and seeks attorney fees, costs and compensation for damages, which include the plaintiff’s arrest as his family looked on. Guillaume’s fiancee filed a complaint with the police department shortly after the arrest.

When Armstrong filed a lawsuit against the city in 2008 alleging racial discrimination, the city used his own record of “misdeeds toward his neighbors” to defend itself against the allegations in the lawsuit that was eventually dismissed, the suit says.

“It defies logic that Jersey City can argue Officer Armstrong’s incompetence as an officer to a judge while at the same time allow him to terrorize those he swore to protect,” Silberman said. “It is about time Jersey City took appropriate action.”

The lawsuit also lists the city and police department as defendants.

Police Abuse case in Bayonne, NJ
Police Abuse case in Orange, NJ
Police Abuse case in Jersey City, NJ (courtesy

Mr. Silberman’s background:

Joel Silberman’s path to becoming an Attorney started when he earned his Juris Doctor from Seton Hall University School of Law in Newark, New Jersey.

After finishing law school, Joel was a Judicial Clerk to the Honorable George F. Rohde, Jr., J.S.C. in the Superior Court of New Jersey’s Law Division, Criminal Part in Passaic County. During that time Joel spent countless hours learning the inner workings of New Jersey’s Criminal Court System.

After completing his Clerkship, Joel spent nearly four years as an Assistant Prosecutor with the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office in Jersey City, New Jersey. During this time Joel was assigned to the office’s Trial, Juvenile and Appellate Units and received specialized instruction in Wire Taps, Identifications and Motions to Suppress. Joel spent this time gaining an understanding of law enforcement’s strategies in investigating and prosecuting crime.

Joel prosecuted a wide array of cases at the Adult and Juvenile levels. Some of Joel’s most notable Adult and Juvenile cases involved charges related to Homicide, Gun Offenses, Aggravated Sexual Assault, Trafficking Narcotics, Fraud and Aggravated Assault. Joel also appeared and argued a number of matters before the Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division.

Joel is an avid boxing fan and recreational boxer in his personal life. Through his passion for boxing Joel has learned that there are going to be times when you take a shot to the chin and end up on the mat. However, Joel has also learned that the true champions are the ones that get up from the mat with a ferocious hunger and passion to win. Joel brings this same hunger and passion to win to all his courtroom battles.

“A Champion shows who he is by what he does when he’s tested.  When a person gets up and says ‘I can still do it’ he’s a Champion”

-Evander Holyfield

Recall the DiMAGGIOS unconstitutionally silencing free speech in 2018 through use of the Lyndhurst Police Department:

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