Govt settles police brutality lawsuit


The CNMI government has agreed to settle the police brutality lawsuit filed by a then-ex-convict whose beating by a police officer after a car chase in 2016 was caught on video.

In an order Tuesday, U.S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona dismissed Vincent SN. Norita’s lawsuit against the CNMI government. The dismissal was with prejudice, which means Norita can no longer re-file his lawsuit.

Norita and the CNMI government asked the court to dismiss the case after coming to a settlement. The parties, through their lawyers, submitted the request to dismiss the case last Tuesday.

As of yesterday, Saipan Tribune has yet to see a copy of the settlement agreement.

Mark Scoggins was counsel for Norita, assistant attorney general Kaste Lund-Turner represented the CNMI government, Robert T. Torres was counsel for police officer Stanley Patris, and Janet H. King was counsel for police officer Carlo Evangelista.

The lawyers informed the court that Norita and the CNMI government executed the settlement agreement on Oct. 1, 2019.

In September 2018, Attorney General Edward Manibusan certified that Patris and Evangelista, who are named as among the defendants in the lawsuit, both acted within the scope of their employment at the time of the incident.

With that, Manglona ordered last January that Patris and Evangelista be substituted as defendants by the Commonwealth for Norita’s claims of assault and battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and negligence.

Norita filed the police brutality lawsuit in federal court in August 2018 against the Department of Public Safety, DPS Commissioner Robert A. Guerrero, and Patris and Evangelista.

The lawsuit arose from an incident in in 2016, when Norita led police officers on a 40-minute car chase. His car later crashed, after which Patris and Evangelista allegedly beat up Norita with a baton. A bystander was able to record a video of the incident.

Norita was later slapped with a nine-year prison term after pleading guilty to traffic charges in May 2017.

Manglona earlier dismissed DPS, Guerrero, and 10 unnamed co-defendants from the lawsuit.

In his lawsuit, Norita asked the court to hold the defendants liable to pay him damages.

The plaintiff asked the court to issue an injunction directing DPS to adopt and implement procedures for hiring, retention, promotion, training, and disciplining law enforcement personnel to prevent the use of excessive force, and assault of persons in the future.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a senior reporter of Saipan Tribune. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has covered all news beats in the CNMI. He is a recipient of the CNMI Supreme Court Justice Award. Contact him at

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