A former Fairleigh Dickinson University professor linked to a neo-Nazi group has filed a civil rights lawsuit alleging he and his wife were victims of police brutality during a 2011 raid of his Ridgewood apartment.
Jacques Pluss, an ex-adjunct history and politics professor at FDU's Teaneck campus, claimed in the suit that state troopers and Ridgewood police burned him with a cigarette, dragged him, and threw him into a pile of ice and snow during his arrest for threats authorities say he made against an Anti-Defamation League official.
Then-girlfriend Jessica Stephens, who has since married Pluss, was "thrown into the cement walkway to be tightly zip tied and handcuffed which caused injury to her wrists and shoulders," the lawsuit claims.
Their attorney, Carlstadt-based William J. Rush, said Pluss' injuries have healed, but Stephens suffered from anxiety following the raid.
The village of Ridgewood, Ridgewood Police, the New Jersey State Police and unidentified troopers and officers are among those named as defendants in the Jan. 24 suit.
Ridgewood Police Chief John Ward said he could not comment on pending litigation. State Attorney General's Office spokesman Lee Moore said the office had no comment on the lawsuit.
Authorities executed a search warrant at Pluss' apartment after he sent multiple threatening e-mails to the Anti-Defamation League's director in New York, state police said at the time. A computer search revealed Pluss frequented Nazi websites.
He was charged with bias intimidation, harassment, contempt of court and weapons offenses. Police said the raid also turned up several rifles, which a prior court order had barred him from possessing.
Court records show Pluss later pleaded guilty to a lesser weapons charge and he was given probation.
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, Pluss has a "long history of racist diatribes."
He has said blacks are "not human" and called for them to be killed after forced labor, according to the center's Hatewatch website. He also reportedly labeled Jews “the most insidious sub-human enemy of Western Civilization itself."
FDU fired Pluss in 2005, citing a string of work absences. Pluss, however, said he was axed because of his involvement with the National Socialist Movement, one of the country's largest neo-Nazi groups.
He called the school a “Jewish plutocratic university,” according to the report.
Pluss has offered varying explanations for his admitted membership in the white supremacist movement, reports say. He first claimed to have joined only to research for a book, but later reportedly said he was a proud neo-Nazi.
The former professor, now living in Warren County, could not be reached for comment.
Rush, his attorney, said Pluss is not currently associated with any organizated neo-Nazi groups.
"Dr. Pluss has his own independent views that are not mainstream," he said.
Pluss and Stephens are seeking unspecified damages and attorney fees.