A Colts Neck man who accused Brookdale College of police brutality after his arrest was video-taped was found dead by the side of Route 37 in Toms River on Friday, according to authorities.
Jeffrey Michel, 27, of Cedar Drive, Colts Neck, who appeared to be the victim of a hit-and-run accident, was a nursing student at the college when he was pepper-sprayed while being arrested last fall at the college’s Lincroft campus, according to authorities.
In the video that was spread through social and news media outlets (see below), Michel can be head repeatedly pleading to know why he is being arrested, and can be seen physically resisting officers’ attempts to cuff and restrain him.
Brookdale Community College Police Officers accused by the student of police brutality were eventually cleared of wrongdoing, authorities said.
On Friday, a motorist who was driving west on Route 37 called police about 8:20 p.m., saying they had seen a person lying on the side of the road just west of Fischer Boulevard. Police arrived and found Michel unresponsive, and he was pronounced dead at the scene, police said.
It appears he was hit by a vehicle that may have been blue in color, police said.
Toms River Traffic Safety Officer Ken Thomas is investigating, along with Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Detectives Mike Proto and David Margentino. The Ocean County Sheriff’s Office CSI Unit was also on hand to process the crime scene.
Anyone with information should contact Officer Ken Thomas at 732-349-0150 extension 1314 or Detective Mike Proto at 732-929-2027.
The video of Michel’s arrest went viral on You Tube last fall and set off a firestorm of complaints and accusations that the Brookdale police went too far.
After receiving a formal complaint filed by the student last fall, Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni found the officers “did not commit criminial wrongdoing” while trying to place the student under arrest.
“It is clear from reviewing the video footage that the force that was used was necessary to overcome the physical resistance of Mr. Michel,” Gramiccioni said, in a statement to Brookdale’s Dean of Human Resources, Patricia Sensi.
In fact, Gramiccioni said then that the video shows that the officers would benefit from additional training because they showed unwarranted “restraint” during Michel’s resistance, and that the officers could have been more aggressive, could have “had Mr. Michel cuffed sooner, and still have been in compliance” with the guidelines, ensuring the officers’ safety.
Published at Patch.com