KAMDEN – A former adviser to Woodlin sued the district and two police officers, alleging that his family’s civil rights had been violated by officers using pepper spray in their home.
The lawsuit, filed on behalf of Clyde Cook and four others, alleges that officers Edgar Feliciano and Javier Acevedo “sprayed pepper all over the house” during the February 2020 incident.
The incident occurred when police answered 911 in a house on the 2300 block of Woodlin Avenue, according to court records.
The excessive force lawsuit alleges that the officers “aimed their revolvers at (Cook), sprayed him (him) in the face and hit (him) against the wall and the ground.”
It claims that three other residents – Timothy Cook, Tracy Cook and Leikish Fontanez – had their faces sprayed.
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The costume also says that Timothy Cook was “hit… against the wall and against the ground.”
The juvenile, who was in the house, needed medical attention due to the widespread use of pepper spray, the suit said.
It also alleges that the district did not comply with or implement a policy of police conduct “that met minimum industry standards.”
A district attorney and officers have denied the allegations in a court statement.
Among other arguments, the statement said the incident was caused by “the negligence or willful actions of the plaintiffs.” It also alleges that the officers acted “in good faith in compliance with the law.”
Clyde Cook and Timothy Cook, his son, were arrested during the incident, according to the Camden County Attorney’s Office.
In July 2020, he was postponed to dismiss a complaint against Timothy Cook, noting that it would allow the then 18-year-old to enlist in the U.S. Marine Corps.
Clyde Cook has not yet been charged with aggravated assault and resisting arrest.
A statement on the probable cause of Clyde Cook’s arrest said he let one officer into his home but told another he could not enter “because of political conflict.”
Cook allegedly pushed and beat officers, and one police officer released pepper spray, the report said. It says Timothy Cook, then 17, and another man in the house were charged after they joined the confrontation.
The lawsuit states that the five plaintiffs had a common home, but did not specify their relationship.
Clyde Cook had previously identified Timothy Cook as his son. Cook’s former website identifies Lakey as his wife.
The family’s attorney, Andrew Ben of Philadelphia, could not be reached for more information.
Cook served one term on Woodlin’s board, losing his re-election bid in November 2020.
Last year, he ran unsuccessfully as a Republican candidate for the state senate in the 5th constituency. Cook was previously an independent candidate for mayor of Camden.
The lawsuit, originally filed in state court in January, was recently moved to Camden Federal Court at the request of the county.
Jim Walsh covers state security, economic development and other articles for the Courier-Post, Burlington County Times and The Daily Journal.
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