New Jersey Libertarian Party

The Party of Principle

Police Accountability Project

The Police Accountability Project is a committee of the NJ Libertarian Party. Its goal is to search out cases of police misconduct, file former Internal Affairs (IA) complaints when appropriate, and to publicize violations of rules and laws by the police. There may be other stories posted on the NJLP Police Internal Affairs Complaint Blog page.

If you would like to help or know of a case we should be looking at, contact the committee at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Tuckerton confidentially paid $8,225.36 and forgave a $16,774.64 debt to settle indicted police officer's federal civil rights lawsuit

On June 5, 2017, the Borough of Tuckerton (Ocean County) quietly paid $8,225.36 to settle a lawsuit brought by a suspended Borough police officer who was indicted on January 13, 2015 for allegedly causing his K-9 canine "Gunner" attack a 58-year-old female motorist on January 29, 2014 and then falsifying an arrest record to cover his actions. Under the terms of the settlement, Tuckerton also agreed to forgive $16,774.64 in health premiums that the Borough said the officer owed and also gave full ownership of Gunner to the officer.

Tuckerton officer Justin M. Cherry filed two lawsuits against the Borough--one each in federal and state court. In both complaints, Cherry claimed that he was deprived of some training opportunities and that when he complained he was met with "demeaning and harassing" conduct by Chief Michael Caputo. Cherry said Caputo's harassment was retaliatory and that Caputo "has been determined to terminate [Cherry's] employment by any means." Caputo's alleged harassment consisted of refusing to compensate Cherry for his "at home" care of Gunner and accusing Cherry of hacking Caputo's e-mails.

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Identity of one of the cops who shot Radazz Hearns has been confirmed

On October 15, 2015, both Keith Brown of NJ Advance Media and Isaac Avilucea of the Trentonian reported that State Police Detective Doug Muraglia was one of the two officers who together fired as many as eighteen shots at Radazz Hearns, then age 14, on August 7, 2015. The other officer who fired at Hearns was identified by the newspapers as Mercer County Sheriff’s Detective James Udijohn.

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Dover paid out $382,500 to settle police officer's "whistleblower" lawsuit

On June 5, 2017, the Town of Dover (Morris County) paid $382,500 to settle a lawsuit filed by an officer who said that he was retaliated against for complaining about ticket-fixing and for reporting that officers were "stealing time" by leaving work early or taking days off.

In his complaint, Timothy Thiel claimed that during a 2011 traffic stop of a car driven by a campaign worker for Mayor James Dodd and which carried Alderwoman Carolyn Blackman as a passenger, he "was pressured to not write tickets because of who was in the car." Thiel said that after he wrote two summonses despite the pressure, he learned that the tickets were improperly dismissed by the municipal court without his knowledge or approval. Through a police sergeant, the ticket-fixing allegation was reported to the Morris County Prosecutor's Office.

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Internal Affairs Complaint - Neptune Township

July 26, 2017

Internal Affairs Unit
Neptune Township Police Department
25 Neptune Blvd.
Neptune, NJ 07753
(via fax only to 732-774-0982 )

RE: Officer Aaron Lay

Dear Sir or Madam:

I chair the New Jersey Libertarian Party's Police Accountability Project and ask that you accept this letter as an Internal Affairs complaint. Note that this is the second complaint we have filed regarding a warrantless strip search. Our first complaint was filed on March 18, 2013 and reported that Lieutenant Robert Mangold had conducted a warrantless strip search that resulted in two glassine bags of heroin being suppressed by the court. Notwithstanding the court's finding, your Internal Affairs Unit exonerated Mangold after finding that he "followed the appropriate department policies and procedures."

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Internal Affairs Complaint against Jersey City Police

Police Accountability Project of the New Jersey Libertarian Party

April 27, 2017
Jersey City Police Department, IA Unit
1 Journal Square Plaza – 4th Floor
Jersey City, NJ 07306       (Via Fax to 201-547-5512)

Dear Sir or Madam:

I chair the New Jersey Libertarian Party's Police Accountability Project and ask that you accept this letter as our Internal Affairs complaint. We would like your agency to investigate whether Jersey City Officers Greg Wojtowicz, Carlos Lugo and other officers employed by your agency acted in accordance with department policy and the law regarding a warrantless search of minivan containing 500 glassine bags of heroin.

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Internal Affairs Complaint against Raritan Township Police Officer

Police Accountability Project of the New Jersey Libertarian Party

March 1, 2017

Lieutenant Al Payne
Internal Affairs Unit
Raritan Township Police Department
2 Municipal Drive
Flemington, NJ 08822            (Via Fax to 908-782-1060)

Dear Lieutenant Payne:

I chair the New Jersey Libertarian Party's Police Accountability Project and ask that you accept this letter as our Internal Affairs complaint. We would like your agency to investigate Officer (now Sergeant) Benedict Donaruma's July 30, 2013 motor vehicle stop of Donna Alessi.

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Millville confidentially paid out $40,000 to teenager who said that cop pulled a gun on him

On August 3, 2016, the City of Millville (Cumberland County) agreed to pay $40,000 to a teenage dirt bike rider who said that a Millville police officer "point[ed] a gun directly at him."

In his lawsuit filed on January 12, 2015, a thirteen year old boy, identified only by the initials C.F., claimed that Millville Police Officer Michael Thompson pointed "a gun directly at him" for about 30 seconds after Thompson stopped the boy for riding a motorized dirt bike in a wooded area near Magnolia Avenue on September 27, 2014.  The boy and his parent, identified as D.F., claimed that the officer's decision to pull his weapon was unwarranted "because  of the lack of severity of the crime at issue, because [the boy] did not pose an immediate threat to the safety of the police officer or others, and because [the boy] was not actively resisting arrest or attempting to evade arrest by flight."  According to the lawsuit, the officer's decision to deploy his weapon amounted to excessive force and violated the boy's rights under both the federal and state constitutions.

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East Orange paid out $200,000 to police matron who claimed that police captain ejaculated on her furniture

A recently uncovered settlement agreement made on June 16, 2014 shows that the City of East Orange (Essex County) agreed to pay $200,000 to a police matron who said that a captain with the city's police department ejaculated on her love seat and his service revolver while he visited her home in 2007.

In her lawsuit, Candida Ray said that Captain Anthony Cooke visited her home on January 26, 2007 to "discuss a business matter involving the sale of cakes and cookies."  She claimed that the meeting was "strictly business" and that she and Cooke never had an intimate relationship.  According to the lawsuit, Ray left Cooke alone in the living room while she stepped into the kitchen.  When she returned "she found that Captain Cooke had removed his penis from his trousers and was masturbating."  When she told him to stop and leave her home, Cooke reportedly "refused and masturbated to orgasm, ejaculating over Ms. Ray's love seat and his gun, which he had withdrawn from his holster."

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Linden paid out $45,000 to settle wrongful arrest lawsuit

On July 15, 2016, the City of Linden (Union County) agreed to pay $45,000 to a man who said that he was wrongfully arrested and held in jail for 65 days.

In his lawsuit, Eon Flemming said that Linden Police Detective "M. Rawling" (presumably Maurice S. Rawlins) wrongfully arrested him on December 6, 2011 in Long Branch, New Jersey for a drug offense.  He said that he was jailed for 65 days and that the charges were administratively dismissed.

The case is captioned Flemming v. City of Linden, et al, Docket No. UNN-L-4179-13 and Flemming's attorney was David B. Owens of Jersey City. Case documents are on-line here.

None of lawsuit's allegations have been proven or disproven in court.  Settlement agreements typically state that payment does not constitute an admission of wrongdoing by any of the defendants.  All that is known for sure is that Linden or its insurer, for whatever reason, decided that it would rather pay Flemming $45,000 than take the matter to trial. Perhaps the defendants' decision was done to save further legal expense and the costs of trying what were in fact exaggerated or meritless claims. Or, perhaps the claims were true and the defendants wanted to avoid being embarrassed at trial. This is the problem when cases resolve before trial--it is impossible to know the truth of what really happened.

Elizabeth agrees to pay $30,000 to resolve police excessive force lawsuit

On September 18, 2016, the Elizabeth City Council (Union County) agreed to pay $30,000 to a Roselle Park man who said that he suffered a fractured back after having been stomped by police.

In his lawsuit, Luis A. Padua said that on April 8, 2011 he was waiting for a ride outside of a parking garage on West Grand Street when he was approached by Captain Torner (presumably Tyrone E. Torner) and Officers A. Vrohidis and Marcos Diaz.  Padua claimed that the officers, who had been notified of a vehicle theft at the parking garage, "began to beat and kick [Padua], pushing him against a wall and stomping on his back, to the point where his back was fractured."  Padua claimed that the officers fabricated Obstruction, Resisting and Criminal Trespass charges against him that were eventually dismissed.

Also named in the suit were Police Chief Patrick Shannon and Police Director James Cosgrove.

The case is captioned Padua v. City of Elizabeth, et al, Federal Case No. 13-cv-04645 and Padua's attorney was Shelley L. Stangler of Springfield. Case documents are on-line here

None of lawsuit's allegations have been proven or disproven in court.  Settlement agreements typically state that payment does not constitute an admission of wrongdoing by any of the defendants.  All that is known for sure is vthat Elizabeth or its insurer, for whatever reason, decided that it would rather pay Padua $30,000 than take the matter to trial. Perhaps the defendants' decision was done to save further legal expense and the costs of trying what were in fact exaggerated or meritless claims. Or, perhaps the claims were true and the defendants wanted to avoid being embarrassed at trial. This is the problem when cases resolve before trial--it is impossible to know the truth of what really happened.

Specification of charges against State Troopers released by administrative law court

Police agencies keep a tight lid on the facts surrounding police disciplinary charges and typically won't even confirm or deny that charges have been filed. But, when a cop decides to appeal the discipline imposed, an OPRA request can sometimes dislodge the appeal paperwork.

Such is the case regarding the appeals of Troopers Kenneth Franco and Georgina Sirakides, both of whom are charged with giving news journalists photographs taken in 2009 of five Troopers celebrating a Camden drug bust by waiving a Puerto Rican flag. Those photographs and celebration have received extensive publicity including articles in the Star Ledger and MyCentralJersey, as well as a spot on Fox News 29.

Earlier today, in response to my OPRA request, the New Jersey Office of Administrative Law sent me the appeal paperwork on Files 07412-15 (Sirakides) and 07406-15 (Franco). Both officers are being represented by David J. Azotea of Atlantic City.

According to the specifications, Franco and Sirakides worked with "former Division member Victor Cooper" to inform journalists about Trooper Kenneth Sirakides, who is apparently Georgina Sirakides' estranged husband, being involved in a "Velocity Sports Performance Internet video" and for waiving the Puerto Rican flag in the drug bust photos.

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Question Regarding Haddon Township Police Officer Jason Dement's College Diploma

I wrote the following letter today to the Mayor and governing body of Haddon Township in Camden County.

February 16, 2016

Hon. Randall W. Teague, Mayor and
Commissioners Paul Dougherty and John C. Foley
Township of Haddon

Via e-mail only to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Dear Mayor Teague and Commissioners Dougherty and Foley:

Would you please add to tonight's Caucus Meeting agenda a discussion of Haddon Police Officer Jason Dement's compliance with  the Education Requirement Policy contained within Police Department General Order 95-3.

G.O. 95-3, which I obtained on February 1, 2016 by way of an Open Public Records Act (OPRA) request, requires all Township police officers to "have earned the minimum of a Baccalaureate Degree from an accredited college or university, having maintained a 2.0 minimum grade point average."

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NJLP Police Accountability Project Submits Amici Curiae Brief

The NJ Libertarian Party Police Accountability Project and the New Jersey Foundation for Open Government have submitted a joint Amici Curiae (Friends of the Court) Brief to the New Jersey Supreme Court concerning a lawsuit between the North Jersey Media Group and the Township of Lyndhurst.

In January 2015, the North Jersey Media Group was granted access to records of a police shooting where an unarmed man was shot and killed by police during a high speed chase. Several police agencies were ordered to turn over these records by a Superior Court Assignment Judge.

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