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..

Pennsauken quietly paid out $770,000 in 2006 to settle female police officer's sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit

I normally do not post settlements of cases that are this old, but the size of the settlement, the nature of the allegations and the fact that the alleged sexual harasser has since been promoted to Police Captain and still serves in that position cause me to make an exception.

Pennsauken Police Officer Susan D. Holtz filed her sexual harassment civil lawsuit on June 4, 2003. Holtz, who was hired as a patrol officer in 1990, said that she was "a very close friend of" Michael Probasco, who was then a patrolman, until she met her husband, Larry Holtz. According to Holtz, her decision to cut off all personal interaction with Probasco so that she could "devote her entire romantic attention" to Larry Holtz "enraged Probasco" and resulted in Probasco spreading lies about her in order to sabotage her relationship with Larry.

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Lindenwold Borough confidentially paid out $9,300 to settle police excessive force lawsuit

On October 4, 2017, the Borough of Lindenwold (Camden County) quietly paid $9,300 to a woman who said that police roughed her up, false arrested her and humiliated her by groping and exposing her genitals and breasts in a public parking lot.

In her lawsuit, Ramona Berry, who at the time was 50, said that on September 12, 2014 she rode with her daughter Aisha to the location where Lindenwold police had detained her other daughter for a traffic stop.  She said that she identified herself as the detainee's mother and asked police what was going on.  Berry claimed that Patrolman Sean Williams screamed that if she didn't get back into Aisha's car she would be arrested.  Berry said that Williams was screaming in her ear as she was trying to open the car door at the same time that Aisha was trying to unlock it.  She said that after she gave up trying to open the car door, Williams "slammed her fifty-year-old body and head into a parked car, bent her over the car, handcuffed her violently, dragged and pushed her to a police car, tossed her roughly into the back of a police car, and violently shoved [her] legs into the car."

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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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Florence investigating police chief, places him on paid leave

Originally published by Burlington County Times, republished under Creative Common License

FLORENCE -- The police chief has come under fire from the municipality and from rank-and-file members of his department.

Chief John Bunce was taken off the job earlier this week until the conclusion of an investigation concerning his conduct.

Township Administrator Richard Brook said Bunce was placed on paid administrative leave Monday afternoon, effective immediately. Bunce could not be reached for comment on Thursday.

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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.