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.
Following is the New Jersey Libertarian Party Police Accountability Project's open letter to the mayor and council of Merchantville Borough (Camden County).
At issue is: A motor vehicle stop and an arrest were made by Merchantville Police officers in another municipality and a judge found that no probable cause existed for the stop. The stopped and arrested
motorist sued the police and recovered an $11,000 settlement. Yet, the Mercantville Internal Affairs Unit found that the officers "followed the appropriate departmental policies and procedures."
On May 19, 2011, the New Jersey Libertarian Party's Police Accountability Project filed an Internal Affairs Complaint against State Trooper Scott Sanders. The complaint was based on a decision of the New Jersey Superior Court, Appellate Division in which a two judge panel found that Sanders conducted an improper, warrantless search of a motor vehicle.
The court's decision caused suppression of "five dime bags of high grade marijuana, approximately a half ounce of cocaine, seven bricks of heroin, and five sealed blunts containing tobacco." Because of evidence the suppressed, the conviction and the six year prison sentence against the driver was reversed.
Last week we reported on Maplewood Township enforcing a repealed ordinance against "public intoxication."
A letter concerning the matter was sent to the Essex County Trial Court Administrator. As a result of the letter, Mr. White's conviction has been reversed and his fines have been refunded.
The reply we received from the Trial Court Administrator can be viewed here.
In April 2010, Police in Maplewood Township (Essex County) cited a man for violating the Township's "public intoxication" code even though the Township Committee repealed that provision of the code approximately a year and a half earlier. The municipal court accepted the man's guilty plea and assessed $80 in fines and costs.
In a May 23, 2011 letter, the chairman of the New Jersey Libertarian Party's Police Accountability Project asked Egg Harbor Township (Atlantic County) Mayor James McCullough to review and update the police department's on-line internal affairs reporting form.
Libertarians demand that cops live under the same laws as the rest of us
|Contact: Jay Edgar
|For Immediate Release|
Tennent, NJ, May 18, 2011: Prompted by recent Star Ledger articles regarding police officers' habitual failure to enforce drunk driving laws against State Trooper Sheila McKaig, the New Jersey Libertarian Party (NJLP) has formally petitioned the New Jersey Attorney General to take corrective action.
On May 16, 2011, the NJLP State Board unanimously voted to send a "petition for rulemaking" to Attorney General Paula Dow asking for "some rules that genuinely and substantially address the problem of police showing favoritism to fellow officers. A copy of the petition, which was submitted to Dow on May 17, 2011, is on-line at http://njlp.org/uploads/petitionToAG.pdf.
Last weekend Camden cops brazenly fired off 33 rounds in an effort to kill a dog. Stray bullets struck several nearby cars and houses. The story was covered by several newspapers including The Courier Post.
Today, I wrote the following letter, which should be self explanatory, to Ocean County Prosecutor Marlene Lynch Ford. The exhibits referred to in the letter are on-line here: http://ogtf.lpcnj.org/2010105pJ//b10418HolmesExhibits.pdf
Somerset, New Jersey
April 18, 2011
Marlene Lynch Ford, Esq.
Ocean County Prosecutor's Office
119 Hooper Ave
RE: State v. Holmes
Ind. No. 10-06-01190-A
Dear Prosecutor Ford:
Karl de Vries's August 27, 2010 Star Ledger article ("Hillside cop receives 3 years probation in domestic shooting") reported that Hillside police detective James Holmes was sentenced to three years probation for "shooting his stepson during a domestic dispute in his Toms River home." A copy of that article is attached as Exhibit Page 1.
After reading that article, I endeavored to learn whether Officer Holmes was, in accordance with N.J.S.A. 2C:51-2, a) required to forfeit his position as a Hillside police officer and b) disallowed from holding public office or employment in the future.
As reported previously, during our visit to Camden, we found that the residents are living in a police state. The residents we interviewed described how they were constantly harassed by the police merely for hanging out. Earlier this year the Camden police were accused of terrorizing the neighborhood and were found to have been conducting illegal searches and planting drugs on innocent people.
In Newark, allegations of police brutality have abounded for the past few years. Officers have been accused of shaking down drug dealers, The ACLU has made the charge that police misconduct is rampant in Newark.
This past week Camden has announced plans to lay off 213 police officers, leaving 162 officers still on the force. After the layoff, this equates to 18.4 officers per square mile of land and 2.1 officers for every 1,000 residents.
Newark is laying off 167 officers, leaving 1,098 officers on the force. After the layoff, this equates to 46.1 officers per square mile of land and 3.9 officers for every 1,000 residents.
Former Passaic County Sheriff, Jerry Speziale, is being investigated for giving sheriff badges out in exchange for campaign donations and for using the county motor pool to have automobile repairs performed for campaign donors.
On August 10th Jerry Speziale resigned his position as sheriff to take a $198,510 job with the Port Authority Police as Deputy Superintendent. He was appointed to this position by Governor Christie.
Like Assemblyman David Rible, Mr. Speziale, collects a government salary while collecting disability payments. He receives $58,000 a year in disability payments from the NYPD. He retired on a disability in 1997.
The NJLP Open Government Task Force joined forces with the Union County Watchdog Association to ask why Gennaro Mirabella, a 17 year veteran of the Garwood Borough Police Department (and brother of a Union County Freeholder) was not prosecuted after reportedly having been caught on videotape breaking the law.
In June we reported on the beating of Ronnie Holloway by Passaic police Officer Joseph Rios, III. Today Officer Rios was indicted for aggravated assault and official misconduct by a Passaic grand jury. Officer Rios still claims he did nothing wrong.
The officer's name is Joseph R. Rios, III. In 2008 he was paid $79,995. He has been on the force for six years. The Passiac Police Departments phone number is (973)365-3958. City Hall can be reached at (973)365-5500.
UPDATE: Officer Rios and his partner have both been suspended without pay. Officer Rios claims he did nothing wrong and that his actions were justified because Holloway became verbally abusive after being told to zip up his shirt. Is it surprising that someone would be "verbally abusive" after receiving uninvited fashion advice?