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Ex-PSU QB Casey settles suit with police

Posted: Tuesday August 12, 2003 2:14 PM

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) -- Former Penn State quarterback Rashard Casey has settled a lawsuit against the Hoboken Police Department stemming from an altercation outside a bar three years ago, his lawyer said Tuesday.

Dennis McAlevy said Casey was awarded the cash settlement in June, but he declined to specify the amount, citing a confidentiality agreement.

Messages for Casey and Hoboken Police Chief Carmen V. La Bruno were not immediately returned Tuesday.

Casey and a high school friend, Desmond Miller, were charged with aggravated assault against off-duty Hoboken police officer Patrick D. Fitzsimmons outside a Hoboken bar early on the morning of May 14, 2000.

A Hudson County grand jury failed to return an indictment against Casey in October 2000, but returned an assault charge against Miller.

Miller pleaded guilty in February 2001, and was sentenced to five years' probation with conditions including anger management counseling, community service and restitution to Fitzsimmons, according to Hudson County Prosecutor Edward J. DeFazio.

"That's the little strange quirk in this case, leading us all to believe something happened here," DeFazio said Tuesday. "But the grand jury got a full and complete presentation and they decided to no-bill Rashard Casey in this case."

A month after charges were dropped, Casey sued the Hoboken Police Department for malicious prosecution, violation of his civil rights and slanderous statements that alleged Casey and Miller attacked the officer because he was escorting a black woman. Casey and Miller are black; the officer is white.

Fitzsimmons filed suit against Casey and Miller in 2000, and Casey countersued. The suits were mutually dismissed last year, McAlevy said.

"It's a shame what happened to this kid," said McAlevy, who said he has known Casey since Casey played on the same Little League team as McAlevy's son. "We just want this to go away."

Casey attended Penn State after a high school career in which he led Hoboken to two New Jersey state scholastic titles and was named New Jersey's high school player of the year as a senior. His first collegiate start at quarterback came against Texas A&M in the 1999 Alamo Bowl, when he led Penn State to a 24-0 victory.

Penn State coach Joe Paterno was criticized for keeping Casey on the team at the start of the 2000 season while the charges against him were pending. The Nittany Lions struggled to a 5-7 record, though Casey ended the season by throwing for three touchdowns and running for two more in a 42-23 win over Michigan State in his final collegiate game.

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