A Belleville woman has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the Belleville Police Department after officers shot and killed her husband when responding to a domestic dispute.
On July 9th, Judy Breton arrived at Belleville police headquarters to report an act of domestic violence, claiming that her husband, 40-year-old Dante Cespedes, had hit her earlier that day. Officers then went to the couple’s residence, where they allegedly found Cespedes armed with two knives. According to court documents, the officers claim that Cespedes attempted to assault them, at which time they each fired their weapons. Notably, Dante Cespedes faced charges for the assault of a police officer in Belleville in 2012.
According to Breton’s lawsuit, the officers involved in the incident include Angelo Quinn, Charles Mollineaux, Matthew Dox, and Jack Baumgartner. It is suggested that they fired 30 rounds at Cespedes in total, 24 of which made contact. The lawsuit states that Officer Dox fired twice and officers Mollineaux and Quinn fired 14 times each.
Overall, Breton alleges that the death of her husband represents a violation of his civil rights and the use of excessive force by officers from the Belleville Police Department. The suit requests $10 million in damages. Interestingly, Officers Mollineaux and Dox were also identified in another lawsuit filed by a Belleville resident in 2012 citing the use of excessive force by Belleville police officers.
Essex County Prosecutor’s Office spokeswoman Katherine Carter made a statement regarding the ongoing investigation of the shooting, saying that the case will be heard by a grand jury. A victory for Judy Breton could spell serious implications for the Belleville Police Department.
For more information pertaining to this case, access the following article: Wife of Belleville chef shot 24 times by cops formally files suit against town