The father of a man March 3 has filed a $5 million tort claim against the Ocean Township Police Department, a move which clears the way for a lawsuit, according to the office of the family’s lawyer.
Deputy Chief Michael Mohel of the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office confirmed that the officer who shot Wolford was Ptl. Matthew Quinn, who is the son of Lacey Township Mayor Gary Quinn.
Henry Roger Wolford, father of Todd Wolford, filed the claim Wednesday through his lawyer, Daniel Carluccio. The claim says the Ocean Township Police Department, department dispatchers and the Ocean County Sherriff’s Department dispatchers were “grossly negligent in causing the death” of Wolford and violated his civil rights.
According to the claim, police were responding to a call from Wolford’s friend, Eddie Kamesiak, on the night of Wolford’s death. Kamesiak, whom the claim says was drunk, had told police Wolford was “upset and in danger.”
Two officers then went to Wolford’s house, where Wolford was asleep on the couch with a movie playing, the claim says, and walked around his house without announcing themselves, amounting to "wrongful trespass.”
When Wolford’s German shepherd started barking, says the claim, Wolford woke up, picked up his legally licensed gun and opened his front door. At that time, one of the officers shot him in the chest, killing him, a claim that matches official reports from the night of the incident.
The claim goes on to say that officers then took Wolford’s body into his house and searched the house before obtaining a warrant. The claim cites reports from neighbors and local media as well as information from the Ocean County Prosecutor.
A representative from the Ocean Township Police Department was not available to comment on the claim Thursday.
Quinn remains on administrative duty while the shooting is investigated by the Prosecutor's Office and the state Attorney General's Office, Mohel said, and the decision of whether to rearm him will come only when those investigations are complete.