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Patrick J. Carney, a 29-year veteran of the Lakewood Police Department, has just been slammed with an assault and battery lawsuit, FAA News has learned.

The complaint stems from an altercation during a men’s softball game in June 2022 when Officer Carney (who was off duty) punched another player in the face.

According to the complaint just filed in New Jersey Superior Court in Ocean County by Marlton Attorney Tracey L. Riley, Esq.:

Carney and Ryan O’Rorke were both players - on opposing teams - on a softball league game which was organized by Berkley Township Recreational Department and New Jersey Shore Amateur Softball Association.

While at bat, O’Rorke hit the softball which inadvertently struck Carney who was the pitcher for the opposing team. Carney was struck in the ankle.

Upon taking first base, O’Rorke was confronted by Carney and his teammates. The arguing turned into aggressive pushing. Carney came up behind O’Rorke and punched him in the side of the head.

O’Rorke suffered a complex fracture which required surgery and resulted in permanent nerve damage and scarring. Additional surgeries will also be necessary.

The Berkeley Township Police Department responded to the scene of the incident. League staff alerted the police officers that they have had issues with Carney’s team fighting in the past and therefore they were terminating them immediately. 

Carney was subsequently arrested and charged with third-degree aggravated assault.

Carney had previously been in altercation with the league director. Yet, despite that earlier incident as well as this fight, he has been permitted to play on another baseball team with law enforcement officers. 

Moreover, Carney has had multiple internal affairs complaints filed against him, including for excessive use of force.

The 3-count complaint, which names as defendants Carney, as well as Township of Berkley, Berkley Township Recreational Department and New Jersey Shore Amateur Softball Association, demands judgment of monetary damages as well as legal fees.

The defendants have 35 days to answer the complaint.

Carney's criminal charges remain pending. His attorney, William P. Cunningham, has previously said his client was also injured from being struck with the ball and that he "acted in self-defense."

The incident occurred during the second game of double-header in which O’Rorke’s team already had a commanding lead in the first inning, so much so that O’Rorke came up to bat more than once in the inning, Cunningham said. During O’Rorke’s previous at-bat that inning, Carney was nearly struck by a ball hit by O’Rorke, prompting words between the two, Cunningham said. The next time O’Rorke came to bat, Carney was struck in the foot by the ball hit by O'Rorke, he said.

“Our position is, that was no accident,’’ Cunningham said. 

“His foot is still bruised,’’ the defense attorney said of his client. “I have pictures.’’

During the ensuing row, Cunningham claims O’Rorke “chest-bumped’’ Carney, prompting Carney to throw the punch.

"He's a good guy, on the force for 27 years,'' Cunningham said of his client. "This has never happened to him before. He's never been charged with anything. He keeps his nose clean and does his job.''

Carney, who has been a public employee since 1996, was paid an annual salary of $135,571, according to state pension records. He was forced to retire as a result of the criminal charges.

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