April 17, 2013
Lt. Antonio M. Domingues, Internal Affairs Unit
Newark Police Department
247 16th Avenue
Newark, NJ 07103
Dear Lt. Domingues:
I chair the New Jersey Libertarian Party's Police Accountability Project and ask that you accept this e-mail as our Internal Affairs complaint. We would like your agency to investigate whether Officer Vernon Bradbury and other personnel employed by your agency acted in accordance with department policy and the law regarding a motor vehicle stop and arrest on May 13, 2011.
According to the Appellate Division's decision in State v. Long, Docket No. A-1857-12T3 (on-line here), Bradbury testified that when he pulled over Nelson Long for speeding, drugs "fell to the ground" when Long exited the vehicle. Bradbury said that an ensuing pat-down turned up more drugs in Long's sweatpants pocket.
At a court hearing, the Hon. Verna G. Leath, J.S.C., said that Bradbury's testimony "simply does not make sense." She found that the motor vehicle stop was "more than pre-textual" and that "in fact there was no motor vehicle traffic violation at all that would have justified a stop." She further found that Bradbury's claim that the drugs fell to the ground "was not credible." Accordingly, she suppressed all the drugs found as having been unlawfully obtained, i.e. "fruit of the poisonous tree."
Judge Leath, in essence, found that Officer Bradbury fabricated his justification to stop Long's vehicle. And, she strongly suggested that Bradbury lied about the drugs falling to the ground and that he instead found the drugs only after an illegal search.
We know nothing more about this incident than that which is reported in the Appellate Division's decision. We file this complaint solely on the strength of Judge Leath's finding that Bradbury did not testify truthfully. The Internal Affairs unit, however, can obtain the evidence, including Bradbury's testimony, upon which Judge Leath made her determination. Further, you can interview Bradbury, Long and any other witnesses to discern what really occurred. Accordingly, we call on you to conduct a full investigation of this matter.
Thank you for your attention to this matter.
John Paff, Chairman
New Jersey Libertarian Party's
Police Accountability Project