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.
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.
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."
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.
On September 18, 2016, the Elizabeth City Council (Union County) agreed to pay $30,000 to a Roselle Park man who said that he suffered a fractured back after having been stomped by police.
In his lawsuit, Luis A. Padua said that on April 8, 2011 he was waiting for a ride outside of a parking garage on West Grand Street when he was approached by Captain Torner (presumably Tyrone E. Torner) and Officers A. Vrohidis and Marcos Diaz. Padua claimed that the officers, who had been notified of a vehicle theft at the parking garage, "began to beat and kick [Padua], pushing him against a wall and stomping on his back, to the point where his back was fractured." Padua claimed that the officers fabricated Obstruction, Resisting and Criminal Trespass charges against him that were eventually dismissed.
Also named in the suit were Police Chief Patrick Shannon and Police Director James Cosgrove.
The case is captioned Padua v. City of Elizabeth, et al, Federal Case No. 13-cv-04645 and Padua's attorney was Shelley L. Stangler of Springfield. 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 vthat Elizabeth or its insurer, for whatever reason, decided that it would rather pay Padua $30,000 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.
This letter was published in the Suburban Trends, 1027/2016
Allow me to respond to two letters which appeared in the Suburban Trends on Oct. 12, 2016. First, we had a letter by a writer who usually goes on an anti-Japanese rant every December on the anniversary of Pearl Harbor, even though World War II ended over 70 years ago.
This time around the writer attacked athletes like Colin Kaepernick who didn’t stand for the national anthem at recent football games. The writer equates patriotism with blind nationalism evidently, which are two different things entirely. I wonder if all the "Fox News Conservatives" out there realize America didn’t have a national anthem until the 1930s or that the tune to which the anthem’s lyrics are set to is actually an old English drinking song.
Originally Published in The Record, October 18, 2016
Regarding "A meeting of the minds at freeholder forum" (The Record, Oct. 14, 2016):
At the Bergen County freeholders candidates forum last week there were seven candidates: six "Republicans: and one Libertarian.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The New Jersey Libertarian Party opposes the proposal of a 23 cents per gallon increase in the gas tax. This tax hike could cost New Jersey motorists $4 Billion over the next 10 years. New Jersey spends $2 million per mile of road, the most in America and twice as much as the next highest state. The problem isn't revenue, it's spending. Let's abolish prevailing wage laws and stop using taxpayers as an ATM for special interest groups.
Published in The Record
I have been reading the many less-than-positive things people have to say about Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton for this election.
It seems the majority of people find both to be a "hold your nose" choice. Their aim seems to be to keep the other from winning the election.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Former NJ State Treasurer to Chair Johnson-Weld Campaign in New Jersey
New Jersey Libertarian Party Chair Patrick McKnight announced that former New Jersey State Treasurer Andrew Sidamon-Eristoff has agreed to chair the campaign of Libertarian Party presidential and vice presidential nominees Gary Johnson and William Weld in the Garden State.
Mr. Sidamon-Eristoff stated:
“I am honored to serve as Chair of the Johnson-Weld 2016 campaign in New Jersey.
Burlington Judge Rebuffs PBA, Orders Disclosure of Redacted Log of Internal Affairs Complaints Against County Corrections Officers
In an August 31, 2016 ruling, Burlington County Assignment Judge Ronald E. Bookbinder denied Burlington County's and the New Jersey Police Benevolent Association's (PBA) bid to reverse his previous decision calling for disclosure of a redacted list of Internal Affairs complaints against corrections officers at the Burlington County Correctional and Detention Facility.
In his ruling in John Paff v. Burlington County, et al., Docket No. BUR-L-36-15, Bookbinder wrote that disclosure of the list, with the names of the officers redacted, will help me to "research the frequency and nature of complaints brought against Burlington County Corrections Officers" without jeopardizing "the privacy interests and potential safety concerns of the officers named on the list."
Stafford Township confidentially paid out $34,000 to settle man's lawsuit claiming that mayor misused Stafford Police to perpetrate a personal vendetta against him
On June 13, 2016, the Township of Stafford (Ocean County) agreed to pay $34,000 to a man who claimed that Mayor John Spodofora used "the Stafford Police as his personal agents" to retaliate against him for publicly criticizing Spodofora for "stolen valor" (i.e. exaggeration of military service).
In his lawsuit, Earl Galloway, a retired Navy Master Chief, said that after he created a spoof Facebook page called "Spodophony" which contained "accurate information to correct [Spodofora's] exaggerations and fabrications" regarding his service in the Vietnam conflict, Spodofora filed an identify theft charge against him, attempted to block Galloway's membership into the Stafford GOP club and publicly accused him of "hacking into [Spodofora's] child's computer and stealing files."
New Jersey Libertarian Party
PO Box 56
Tennent, NJ 07763-0056
Contact: Jim Tosone – Vice Chair NJLP
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
On August 15, the Democrats and Republicans Will Stack The Deck Yet Again
Tennent, NJ, August 8, 2016 – If there’s one thing Democrats and Republicans agree on, it’s that your only choice should be between Democrats and Republicans. They have used their control of the election laws to cement their many advantages in place. Taxpayers fund their closed primaries and subsidize their nominating conventions. Their candidates are automatically placed on the November ballot. Meanwhile, the Libertarian Party and its members fund their state and national nominating conventions. The Party must by law spend its own time and money to collect signatures on petitions to get its nominated candidates included on the November ballot.
Lawyer to blogger: "Immediately cease and desist in your publication" of my client's confidential settlement agreement with a public agency
On July 12, 2016, I published "Sparta school board confidentially paid $50,000 to settle former custodian's wrongful termination lawsuit." I distributed a link to the article to area media (which resulted in Eric Obernauer of the New Jersey Herald publishing "Sparta school board settles suit with former custodian" on July 14, 2016) as well as to the lawsuit plaintiff's attorney.
Today, I received the following e-mail from the attorney who represented the former school custodian in the wrongful termination lawsuit:
Published in Suburban Trends, June 30, 2016
Over 80 percent of the town has not voted for town council yet, but 12.5 percent of the vote is enough to guarantee that one of these men will sit on the town council next year. This is because there are two seats available on the town council and these men will only face one opponent in the general election: Me.
Published in Suburban Trends, June 26, 2016
Will people in the journalism field such as your writer Holly Stewart ever take a consistent stand on behalf of individual liberty and the Bill of Rights? If her op-ed of June 15th is any clue, I guess the answer would be no. It almost seems that the politicians and the media mouthpieces look forward to mass shootings to crank up the "gun control is needed more now than ever" machine.
The sad events in Orlando, Fla., are reported to create the idea that if you’re supportive of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community you must be anti-gun and if you’re for the Second Amendment than you must be a "hate-filled homophobe." This is how the media frames the debate; alternative viewpoints generally get ignored.
For example did you know that there is a pro-gun group in the LGBT community known as The Pink Pistols (pinkpistols.org)?