On March 2, 2015, the Township of Deptford (Gloucester County) agreed to pay $35,000 to a Wenonah man who sued members of the Deptford Police Department for allegedly arresting him for video recording police and for possession of "saltine cracker crumbs."
In his suit, John Cokos said that he was walking to Gloucester County College on November 10, 2011 carrying a video recorder. He said that Deptford Township Police Officer Matthew Principato made an abrupt U-turn and asked him "what his intentions were with the video camera." Cokos said that he didn't answer Principato's question and instead asked "whether he was charged with any offense, and, if not, . . . whether he was free to leave."
On May 27, 2015, the City of Wildwood (Cape May County) agreed to pay $29,000 to a Vineland man who sued members of the Wildwood Police Department for applying excessive force.
In his suit, Kenneth Carey said that on August 28, 2010 Wildwood Officer Andrew Grenaro "exercised unlawful and excessive force" upon him at 248 E. Schellenger Avenue. Carey, whose lawsuit contains no specifics of his interaction with police, also claimed that Grenaro "unlawfully seized" him and discriminated against him "because of his race."
This originally appeared on Cop Block.org.
It is not like the police state needs any more tools or weapons at its disposal, but the New Jersey State Police are getting one anyway. Introducing the “Ghost Car” that will supposedly help keep the roads safe by having undetected cops on the road. According to ABC6 Action News:
Motorists on New Jersey highways may see the newest car patrolling the roads. Then again, they may not.
On March 11, 2015 the Township of Byram (Sussex County) agreed to pay $10,000 to a Newton man who sued the Byram Police Department for maliciously prosecuting him for drunk driving.
In his suit, Arthur M. Pirone said that on June 25, 2013, he was driving on U.S. Route 206 when in a "trance like mental status proximately caused by undiagnosed sleep apnea disease" he was "invoked in multiple collisions with street signs and a utility pole." When Byram Officer John D'Onofrio responded to the incident, Pirone alleged that he immediately concluded that he had been drinking and arrested him for drunk driving even though there was no odor of alcohol present. Pirone claimed he was taken to a hospital where blood was extracted from him when he was unable to consent. He claimed that he was ultimately found not guilty of the drunk driving charge.
As a result of pressure from the NJLP Pre-empted Ordinance Repeal project three towns are looking to rescind their curfew laws. Thanks to NJLP member and project volunteer Jim Tosone for his work.
- Bergenfield has introduced Ordinance 15-2477 repealing their curfew law. (update: see coverage here)
- Hasbrouck Heights has introduced Ordinance 2236 repealing their curfew. This Ordinance is scheduled to be voted on during the Council meeting on May 12th.
- North Arlington has agreed to introduce an ordinance repealing their curfew.
Three additional towns have been notified as to the illegality of their ordinances. We are waiting to hear back from Saddlebrook, Northvale, and Moonachie.
Once again government goes too far
Much has been in the news recently about the so-called Religious Freedom Restoration Act in Indiana and also in Arkansas. Sadly, all sides in this debate focus on the wrong issues.
We already have a Religious Freedom Act – it’s called the First Amendment to the Constitution! The real issue is property rights and the right of individual business owners to choose their customers – bringing religion into this debate only clouds the issue.
Following is my letter to the Cumberland County Prosecutor's Office and Bridgeton City Officials regarding the Bridgeton Municipal Court's continued practice of downgrading statutory violations to a municipal code provision that hasn't been in effect since 2003.
I contacted the Prosecutor's Office regarding the same issue in 2010 and was told that it was resolved. Unfortunately, the superseded code provision is still being used.
April 22, 2015
Jennifer Webb-McCrae, Cumberland County Prosecutor
Rebecca J. Bertram, Bridgeton City Solicitor
Marie L. Keith, Bridgeton Municipal Court Administrator
Dear Prosecutor McCrae and Mesdames Bertram and Keith:
I hope that Chief Dellane can clarify why his officer apparently did not file his written report until nine months after an arrest was made. My letter to the Chief follows:
April 20, 2015
Thomas Dellane, Chief
Stafford Township Police Department
260 East Bay Avenue
Manahawkin, NJ 08050
Dear Chief Dellane:
I am writing on behalf of the New Jersey Libertarian Party's Police Accountability Project regarding the March 2, 2013 arrest of Vasilio Koutsogiannis by Stafford Police. Mr. Koutsogiannis has been in touch with us and has claimed that Officer Robert Conforti's report, especially the part regarding Koutsogiannis' sister verbally conveying her father's consent to a police search of his residence, is fabricated.
As a result of a letter from NJLP member and the NJLP Pre-Empted Ordinance Repeal project volunteer, Jim Tosone, the town of Montvale is considering repealing their curfew ordinance. Read about it at northjersey.com.
In the November 2015 election the NJ Libertarian Party will be running candidates under the Libertarian Party banner. The following candidates have filed petitions to run for office.
- Joseph DeLong - South Bound Brook Mayor
- Patrick Smith - South Bound Brook Town Council
- Joseph Rafferty - write in campaign for Gloucester County Freeholder
- Peter Rohrman - Bergen County Freeholder (also see his facebook page)
- Damien Caillault - Assembly 27th District
- Jeff Hetrick - Assembly 27th District
In addition, NJLP member Joseph Dunsay will be on the ballot in a non-partisan school board election for the River Dell Regional School District in Bergen County.
Please provide whatever support you can to our candidates!
2015 New Jersey Libertarian Party Convention
Tavern on the Lake, Hightstown
Saturday, March 21, 2015
Tentative Meeting Agenda
Call to order & quorum check 9:00 AM
Agenda review & approval 9:05 AM
Secretary's Report 9:10 AM
- Minutes of prior meeting (State Board Meeting 1/11/2015 )
Treasurer's report 9:15 AM
On October 27, 2014, I blogged about the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police ("NJSACOP") entering as an amicus curiae or "friend of the court" into Galloway Township's appeal of a trial court's ruling that I am entitled to logs showing the sender, recipient, date and subject line of each e-mail sent by a specific government employee during a specified period of time.
Recently, four other organizations have also sought to participate in the case: the New Jersey State League of Municipalities, the New Jersey Institute of Local Government Attorneys, the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey and the Electronic Frontier Foundation. The League and Institute filed a joint brief which is on-line here and the ACLU's and Foundation's joint brief is on-line here.
I would like to respond to two letters that appeared in the Suburban Trends on Feb. 14.
First the letter by Bill Weightman of Hardyston, advocating more taxpayer funding of the arts here in New Jersey. Government (at any level, even local) should not be taking money from one group (taxpayers) and redistributing it to special interest groups such as those who claim to be promoting the "arts."
In late 2014, I blogged about my common law right of access lawsuit that compelled the Township of Hainesport (Burlington County) to release a list of all public officials, employees and retirees who were receiving health insurance that was subsidized by Hainesport taxpayers. While nothing illegal was discovered, the list did confirm that Hainesport taxpayers were paying about $27,000 toward health coverage for each of four elected Township Committee members who selected the "family plan." (The fifth member of the Committee, William M. Boettcher, selected the "married plan" reducing the taxpayers' burden in 2014 to approximately $21,000.)
Democratic congressional leader Nancy Pelosi once stated that when it came to government spending, there was “nothing else to cut.” All programs, departments and agencies were already cut to the bone. Not only was this a falsehood, it was a poor attempt at deception. There are many areas where government can eliminate or cut spending. If it were up to me, I would start cutting or eliminating the following:
- The Department of Homeland Security: This department is useless in the fact that it has wasted billions in taxpayer monies, and it has failed to protect the homeland from terror, as we have seen from the incidents in Oklahoma and Boston. The Department of Defense along with Immigration and Naturalization and the Federal Bureau of Investigations is all we need.
Roselle park police department
110 East Westfield Avenue
Roselle Park, NJ 07204
Record Room: 908-245-1100
On January 7th 2015. Our friend, Christopher Larriva, was paid a visit by a Roselle Park NJ detective long with two other officers. In one marked and one unmarked car. They wanted to question him about a photo he’d taken and posted on instagram. It was of a loaded magazine for a gun. To the left is the picture he posted.
There is not even a gun in the shot. The detectives insisted on seeing the gun at his doorstep. Chris was wise enough not to let them inside and talked to them on the porch. He told the officers it was not his gun. There was no gun in the picture and who it belonged to. After threatening him with home invasion if he didn’t show them the gun. And after Chris questioned the detectives on the illegality of taking pictures and owning firearms, the detectives turned their attention to Chris’ employer. Who was the LEGAL gun owner. Chris had taken the photo on a day his boss was headed to the range, and that’s where the photo generated from.
On February 1, a letter appeared in
your [The Suburban Trends] claiming that "conservative and libertarian voters" were advocates of voter ID laws. I can't speak for conservatives, but I'd like to know the writer's source of information that led him to think that we Libertarians support more voter ID laws.
As a point of fact, Libertarians have been in the forefront of making it easier to vote by our opposition to ballot access laws that make it difficult for all third parties and independents to get on the ballot as an alternative to the Republican and Democrat duopoly in American politics.
Former school principal interviewed by prosecutor about his "involvement with a minor" is receiving $7,800 gross monthly pension benefits
On February 2, 2015, I blogged here about my Open Public Records Act (OPRA) lawsuit that seeks an investigative report and video regarding an Atlantic County elementary school principal who unexpectedly resigned a few days after being interviewed by the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office about his "involvement with a minor." To date, no charges have been filed against the principal, John Gibson. Gibson was formerly employed by the Galloway Township school district.
Today, I received a report (on-line here) from the New Jersey Division of Pensions showing that Gibson has been receiving monthly net pension checks of an undisclosed amount since May 1, 2014. Before deductions, however, the gross monthly pension amount is $7,834.50