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.
On September 24, 2014, two veteran Stafford Township (Ocean County) police officers sued the Township and Police Chief Joseph Giberson claiming that a promotional examination for the rank of Sergeant concluded in 2013 by the Stafford Township Police Department was "unlawful . . . arbitrary and capricious [and] manipulated by" Chief Giberson and Township officials.
According to a federal civil complaint filed by Stafford Police Officers David L. McVey and Drew G. Smith, sixteen officers applied for position of Sergeant in 2012. The applicants underwent a two-part examination consisting of "Phase I" which was a multiple choice, written test and "Phase II" which was an evaluation by superior officers, including Chief Giberson.
Lakewood agrees to withdraw disciplinary complaint against cop in exchange for cop's resignation. Cop's "drug use" will be reported to the State
In a December 17, 2014 "Confidential Agreement," the Township of Lakewood (Ocean County) agreed withdraw a Preliminary Notice of Disciplinary Action filed against a police officer on June 16, 2014 in exchange for that officer's resignation. While the basis for the disciplinary charge is not specified, the agreement requires the Lakewood Police Department to "report [the officer's] resignation and drug use to the New Jersey Drug Registry." This suggests that the officer's disciplinary charge was related to his possession or use of illegal drugs.
Update: The Judgment of Conviction (JOC) in my original post referenced a separate indictment numbered 13-06-1490. The JOC made the probationary charges for both charges run concurrently. I submitted another Open Public Records Act (OPRA) request to the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office (OCPO) to find out the nature of the charges that resulted in I-13-06-1490. The OCPO's response is on-line here. The new charge alleged that on February 8, 2013, O'Reilly, "in an attempt to keep [victim Shirley Mullen] from testifying in legal proceeding [called Mullen] and threaten[ed] her by stating that she will never make it to court." Judge Blaney downgraded the original charge of Witness Tampering-Third Degree to Harassment, which is a disorderly persons offense, and sentenced O'Reilly to a two-year probationary period to run concurrently with the probationary sentence imposed for the assault charge. He also ordered her to pay $125 in state assessments
On June 13, 2014, Ocean County Superior Court Judge James M. Blaney sentenced a female Point Pleasant Borough (Ocean County) Police Communications Officer to two years probation for knocking another woman unconscious by hitting her in the head with a wood log.
I often report of incidents where police officers give preferential treatment to fellow officers. This is not one of those times.
From reading a Camden County Prosecutor's Office "Special Prosecutions Summary Report" on-line here, I learned that an unidentified Camden Metro Police Officer was suspended for 47 days for having a motor vehicle accident while allegedly driving intoxicated in Stratford Borough (Camden County) on October 26, 2013. Harper pleaded guilty on January 10, 2014 and was assesses a total of $664 and had his license suspended for 90 days. The court's disposition is on-line here.
Police Departments in New Jersey are required to annually report a synopsis of all Internal Affairs cases that resulted in imposition of a 10-day or greater fine or suspension. Jersey City provided redacted reports for 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 which I've placed on-line here.
I believe that the types of charges, some involving criminal conduct, against these officers may be of interest to readers.
01/22/15 UPDATE: North Bergen police have confirmed that the March 28, 2011 entry regarding a male police officer allegedly having sex with a 16-year-old girl in North Bergen motel related to Officer Marcos Kelly. This is not news as it has been written about in the Star Ledger. The Jersey City IA roster confirms that Kelly was allowed to enter into the Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI) program and can never again hold "any office or position of honor, trust or profit under this State or any of its administrative or political subdivisions." North Bergen's police incident report is on-line here.
I have recently learned that the Township of Manchester (Ocean County), on or about May 20, 2014, appealed an Ocean County judge's February 21, 2014 decision to reinstate a Township police officer to his position after the Township fired him on June 29, 2012. The judge also awarded the officer all back pay and, in a separate opinion issued on April 24, 2014, declined to require the Township to pay the officer's attorney fees.
The New Jersey Attorney General's Vehicle Pursuit Rules require each law enforcement agency to annually prepare a "Vehicular Pursuit Summary Report" setting forth the number of police vehicle pursuits and the number of accidents, injuries and deaths resulting from those pursuits. I collected examples of these summary reports from two police departments at opposite ends of the state--Bridgeton (Cumberland County) and Mahwah (Bergen County). I have placed the reports on-line here.
The reports help citizens get a sense as to how frequent police chases are in their towns. They also provide information that can lead to additional Open Public Records Act (OPRA) requests. For example, Bridgeton's 2013 report shows that one police injury and one police car accident occurred during a high speed chase. Interested citizens could request the police report for that incident.
Submachine Guns: The Gift That Keeps On Giving - Donation of Submachine Guns in Lakewood Raises Eyebrows
It's already controversial for our nation's local police departments to receive surplus assault rifles and equipment from the US military for use by law enforcement officers. It's a whole other ball game for these weapons to be donated by a member of the community in appreciation of the police's help with a local religious festival.
Records show that an unnamed religious community events organizer was so appreciative of the help that New Jersey's Lakewood Township and its police department gave during a September carnival that they wanted to make a donation to the local police department. What did this anonymous organizer want to donate? 10 brand new assault rifles from Israel. Ones that they had test fired themselves on their last trip there.
On November 26, 2014, the Ocean County Department of Corrections agreed to pay $25,000 to a county jail inmate who claimed that he was assaulted by a jail guard. Additionally, the jail guard was charged with aggravated assault and resigned from his job after entering the Pretrial Intervention Program (PTI).
In his suit, Armando Penales said that on December 22, 2012, while he was in the Ocean County Jail awaiting sentencing on a robbery charge, he was assaulted "without justification" by Corrections Officer Timothy Browning. He also claims that he was denied medical treatment for the injury he received and that Browning filed a disciplinary charge against him for "Refusing to Obey an Order of any Staff Member" which was later dismissed.
On Tuesday Mathew Reardon was arrested for making a statement on Facebook. He stated "Don't wanna get clipped while sitting in your squad car?? Don't be a (expletives deleted) pig who's looking to get killed...Everyone who goes out of their way to (expletive deleted) with other people should get executed in cold blood."
The statement, while offensive, was not a direct threat. His statement was made just days before the funeral of NYPD officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos who where killed by Ismaaiyl Brinsley while they sat in their patrol car.
I understand the increased level of alertness since the shooting, however this is a disturbing use of police force. Stupid statements made on Facebook by citizens and police alike do not warrant police action.
After publishing the $145,000 racial discrimination settlement between Plainfield and a police aide, I decided, just for fun, (I know. I have a pretty warped sense of what is "fun") to search the court indexes and submit OPRA requests for other interesting court cases involving Plainfield.
Today, I received the following court cases from Plainfield City Clerk Abubakar Jalloh:
Officer Jason Miller has been arrested for exposing himself several times to drivers he had pulled over in Newton, NJ. Five separate incidences have been investigated where Officer Miller has either exposed himself or made inappropriate statements to male drivers.
Officer Miller has been released on $35,000 bail and has been placed on unpaid leave.
On December 10, 2013, the Township of Howell (Monmouth County) agreed to pay $15,000 to a Toms River man who sued a Howell Police Officer for injuring him when he was placed in a squad car.
In his suit, Douglas Kessel, vaguely claims that on January 15, 2009, an officer identified as "John Doe, Badge No. 189" "placed [him] in a the back of a squad car and . . . caused [him] to sustain severe, serious and permanent injuries."