Teens Left Locked In Fort Lee Police Van Planning Lawsuit

2 Boys Recount Frustrating 15-Hour Experience To CBS 2

FORT LEE, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — For Adam Kim and Kevin Jun it started as a wild high school house party but quickly turned into what they call a night of misery.

They were two of five teens that were left locked up inside a police van for 15 hours. Now, two of them are planning to sue the borough of Fort Lee and its police department.

“It was cold so we tried to huddle up together,” Jun told CBS 2’s Kristin Thorne.

The two, along with three other party-goers, were left locked inside a Fort Lee Police van for more than half of a day.

“In the beginning we thought it might have been procedure. It was clear in an hour or two later that they left us in there,” Jun said.

That van was parked just outside the police department, but their screams went unanswered. As the 20 degree-plus night wore on, the cramped steel van turned ice-cold. Worse still, nature kept calling.

“Eventually during the morning we did into this other compartment of the van but it still was there and it smelled really bad,” Kim said.

It was 3:30 the next afternoon when their constant calls finally got a response from a passerby. A stunned Fort Lee officer found the frozen, hungry and traumatized kids.

“When he opened the door he was just speechless,” Jun said.

That was small consolation for the families. They plan to file lawsuits against the borough and police department for psychological damage.

“We entrust the police to take care of our children and they’re the very same people who put them in harm at this point,” attorney Sarah Bernstein said.

The police department is now going through its own surveillance video to try to figure out what exactly happened that night. The mayor of Fort Lee said they will get to the bottom of this.

“We’re going to find out the facts and I have sneaking suspicion this is what we’re going to find out — that the proper procedures are in place and they weren’t followed,” Mayor Mark Sokolich said.

It may have been a breach of procedures with potentially costly consequences.

Three Fort Lee Police officers have been suspended with pay.

Outraged by this? Please offer your thoughts in the comments section below.

  • steve jenkins

    this story made me a man
    also dirty mike and the guys say hi

  • M. B. A.

    So where is the psychological damages they
    spoke in a close up shot directly into a CBS TV camera?
    A traumatized person could not do this,I guess they want
    their tuition money? ..for Pharmacy school?

  • alan s

    Another fine example of the FORT LEE POLICE DEPARTMENT. lol

    Notice the names of these kids are all Asian specifically KOREAN last names.

  • nyc

    Locked in the police van for fifteen hours in front of a police station and didn’t get noticed ?? Makes no sense that someone didn’t see them !

    • Auburn Dale

      Of course they were noticed. The cops in question clearly knew exactly what they were doing, and therefore their commanding officer was also fully aware (because the boss is always responsible for the subordinates’ actions).

  • Gregory

    The cops get to clean-up the van, and the smart assed kids get a life long lesson ala fascist style police work. This should be good political fodder for FT Lee politicians. Otherwise, fix and move-on. Nobody died.

  • Auburn Dale

    Not only are you rich because of “stupid taxpayers,” but as a cop you are also a Legally Designated Hero which makes you EXEMPT FROM ALL LAWS. Enjoy!

  • Gloria Guerriera

    The Fort Lee PD will probably send a bill to the parents for having the van cleaned after the kids usedit as a toilet.

  • Mike

    Why are they suspended with pay? If I had of did that I would have been put in jail for locking my children in the car.

    They should have been locked in jail for the same reason. Why are they above the law.

  • Joe F

    A week off WITH PAY, Its like giving the cops a week vacation for making that mistake. 5 kids and none had a cell phone? or did the cops stripped searched them and took away their cell phones prior to leaving them in the van?
    The cop should be fired, and the parents should NOT sue the city, instead accept it as a lesson the kids should learn from..

    • RichieT

      The parents should go after the city. The cops worked for the city. They are responsible for what their employees do while they’re at work. Teaching a kid a lesson is one thing. That’s not what happened. What would you do if cops left you locked in a van overnight in below freezing weather?.Say thank you?

  • RichieT

    There are cop’s that join the police force for the control they have over other people. That way, they can’t be held personally responsible

  • Discusted

    Why the hell would you suspend someone with pay, what a farce .I would be embarrassed to be a policeman in that town if this is the way they run the precinct.
    They should have been fired on the spot and arrested and brought in front of a judge. This must all be quite comical to these 3 policeman to get full pay and a vacation to booth. At a cost the tax payer will front when this goes to court. It’s obvious they do not see themselves as protectors, but as self appointed bullies. They should be working in an Iracki police dept.

  • Malcolm

    So? You didn’t have a cell phone?? I blame the youth

  • Alan Foos

    A mistake. Not fun, but not a reason to sue anyone. Forgive and forget.

    • Grant Maxfield

      They could have frozen to death, it was in the 20’s. If an airline left people on a plane (with snacks, toilets, and HEAT) for 15 hours they would have to give every passenger full refunds / free tickets.

  • gg

    oh please…kids go F urselves you are not hurt…!

  • Damian Norman

    A WHOLE half a day?

  • Michael Siscar

    This is good punishment for naughty kids.

    • Grant Maxfield

      Ever heard of a little thing called innocent until proven guilty? Naughty perhaps, but in the United States of America courts decide on punishments, not the police.

  • Charlie

    Aw…. poor babies. Maybe next time they will think about what they are doing. Hopefuly, they have learned a lession. Lawsuit? Give me a break.

    • sef

      your comment is just as stupid as Deirdre’s ….

    • bf

      Yah Hate the police!

  • Deirdre

    If they had not been in trouble with the law they wouldn’t have been in the van to begin with.

    • Sef

      Deirdre, this is the stupidest comment i have ever read …

  • km

    polices are angels on earth. when you call them, they’r there to help.
    just a few bad apple, it is not the end of the world.

  • fern

    They can bust your head so fast you don’t see it coming, fire fourteen bullets in one second. Brains? Forget it they’re heroes no scientists.

  • BC

    Instead of suing the town and the police department, I wish they would just sue the individual cops. Of course that won’t happen. Being suspended with pay is ridiculous. The cops will probably get a disciplinary letter put in their file, keep their 6 figure jobs, and the taxpayers will once again be on the hook for the mistakes of the department employees.



  • rammy

    police police why we need them for i never call 911 i don’t need any more pigs in my life are you crazy suspended whit pay wow only in USA fire them send them home and give me that job i do butter than them sick environment god bless America

  • Pete

    Wow, what punishment! Let’s give these copps a week off WITH pay. That will definitely teach them a lesson! I don’t know who is more stupid here, the police responsible for this, or their superiors…

    • Mikey


  • will

    15 hours in a freezing police van… having to go BM in the backseat… were these guys cuffed too??? frivelous lawsuit, I think not… take the cops to court for this one…

  • sgt.ranks

    pigs,just plain worthless pigs

  • Fort Lee-er

    I can say with certainty that Fort Lee probably has the worse Police Dept in all of Jersey. They don;t have a clue what a Police force is suppose to do for their town. That entire force should be fired. PA cops do a better job than them.

    • Rita Yocovelli

      Hey Fort Lee-er,
      You should sign your name to your comment,only a coward would post a remark such as yours!! If more parents would supervise their children and not leave it up to the police to babysit their BRATS,situations such as this would not occur.
      Parents should not go on vacation and leave their children without adult supervision.
      The Fort Lee Police Dept. does a wonderful job with our community and they are the best!!!

      Rita Yocovelli

      • Jasper Dionisio

        Ok, well I agree with Fort Lee-er, and here’s my real name, paesan. Fort Lee has the worst cops I have ever seen. It’s clear, from my experience and the experiences of my friends, that Fort Lee cops intentionally make it their business to harass young people. I don’t even live in Fort Lee, and yet I’ve had more completely uncalled for problems with Fort Lee cops than any others.


    This is nothing, in prison they lock you in shower stalls in the hold, if they want to hold you in isolation and all the hold cells are full. A shower stall is like maybe 4feet by 4 feet, with no place to sit down but by the drain. It will kill your back real quick. Welcome to America, home of the f’ed up police state

    • brandon

      but they werent in prison were they? matter of fact they didnt even go to court so how can you relate these boys to an inmate? your an idiot . i hope these kids sue the hell out of them for what they had to go through. 15 hours is a long time. NO excuse

  • Arjuna

    This is just insane The police aren’t exactly angels but … what WERE they thinking?



    • jsa

      It is the VAST MAJORITY of law enforcment that are on the RIGHT side of the law and only a few bad apples that spoil the bunch. There is no doubt that these kids have been treataed unfairly & those responsible be held accountable (lose their pension), But to say that “MANY OF THOSE WHO JOIN THE POLICE FORCE ARE SEVERLY DISTURBED INDIVIDUALS. FRO EXAMPLE, THOSE WHO AT A YOUNG AGE WERE REJECTED BY THEIR PEERS, AND HAVE JOINED THE FORCE ONLY TO TAKE REVENGE ON THE SOCIETY THAT REJECTED THEM” just shows that YOU are the one that is ‘severly disturbed’ and needs professional help.

      • Record Straight Setter

        There may be some truth to that statement. All the guys I grew up with that were never accepted by their piers are dying to be cops. Maybe a coincidence but I doubt it. If you have a family tradition in law enforcement I can understand that but many cops are repressed, demented individuals. The funny part is without the badge and the gun I find that alot of cops are SOFT and COWARDLY people. I also find that they are not too bright. I guess this serves most police departments well due to the fact that they take orders without asking any questions. Then there are those that are the overly aggressive. And let’s not forget the lady cops who go waaaayyy overboard trying to prove that they are one of “THE GUYS”. And then there are the GOOD COPS THAT WITNESS ALL THESE OTHER COPS BREAK THE LAW AND VIOLATE PEOPLE’S CIVIL RIGHTS EVERY DAY AND DON’T SAY A WORD… I GUESS THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A GOOD COP. But they want to chew you out for double parking. Bunch of S*** bags.

    • Alan

      It is true. A few psychological studies have deduced that many police offers were school bullies as kids. Subconsciously they seek out “socially acceptable” means of carrying out their sadistic tendencies.

  • Jeff Rosen

    Probably better than the holding cell!!

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