West AC

Police gather at the Destiny Inn in the West Atlantic City section of Egg Harbor Township on Nov. 7, 2013, during a manhunt for Donald Capriotti.

CAMDEN — A federal judge has dismissed excessive force claims in a lawsuit against a former Atlantic City police officer and state troopers involved in a 2013 standoff that left suspect Donald Capriotti paralyzed from the waist down.

District Judge Robert B. Kugler filed an order Monday dismissing claims of intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligence and excessive force against former police Officer Jeremy Nirenberg, as well as Troopers Edwin Huber, Andrew Koch, Paul Horsey and Jack Donegan, according to court documents obtained by The Press of Atlantic City.

While similar claims against now-retired Egg Harbor Township Officers Michael Bordonaro and Steven Swankoski were dismissed in Kugler’s opinion, claims of excessive force remain.

A. Michael Barker, Bordonaro and Swankoski’s attorney, has not returned a request for comment.

“I had faith in all the police officers and that all the police officers did the right thing and the judge would turn out the claims all together,” said John C. Hegarty, Nirenberg’s attorney. “I’m thankful that the law was followed and my client was dismissed, and I believe the jury is going to clear the two other officers.”

The Public Affairs Office of the Attorney General, which would handle any motion for the State Police, has not returned a request for comment.

Also known as Donald Gardner, Capriotti, 45, is housed in South Woods State Prison in Bridgeton on weapons, assault, drug, resisting arrest and related charges from 2013, according to the state Department of Corrections website. He is ineligible for parole until 2023.

Joseph Liguori, Capriotti’s attorney, did not return a request for comment.

Capriotti was considered armed and dangerous when State Police stopped him near the Travelodge in West Atlantic City on Nov. 7, 2013.

He fled the car, authorities said at the time. During the chase, Capriotti was shot multiple times.

Kugler filed an order dismissing the charges against Egg Harbor Township and Atlantic City in December. Both municipalities were named in Capriotti’s original 2014 lawsuit.

In a request for summary judgment filed in March, Barker argued the use of deadly force against Capriotti was reasonable, as Capriotti was eluding arrest at the time of the shooting and was being investigated “by multiple law-enforcement agencies for his active drug-dealing activities, weapons possession and a homicide.”

“In the days prior to the incident, an Officer Safety Bulletin was issued regarding (Capriotti) which stated that (he) was due to be sentenced to an extended prison term for weapons possession and controlled dangerous substance distribution and that he intended to shoot someone, including police officers before his sentencing date,” according to the motion.

In addition, all the officers who witnessed the incident testified they believed Capriotti had a gun and was pointing it at Swankoski, which is why they fired at him.

Contact: 609-272-7241 Mbilinski@pressofac.com Twitter @ACPressMollyB

Staff Writer

My beat is public safety, following police and crime. I started in January 2018 here at the Press covering Egg Harbor and Galloway townships. Before that, I worked at the Reading Eagle in Reading, Pa., covering crime and writing obituaries.

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