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..

Internal Affairs complaints in New Jersey are often not disclosed to the public. In 2014, John Paff, the head of the NJ Libertarian Party’s Open Government Advocacy Project requested info on complaints against correction officers who work at the Bergen County Jail. The response provided redacted the names of all the correction officer employees. His lawsuit against County resulted in Bergen County being forced to identify the officers.

In 2017 the Libertarians for Transparent Government sued the NJ State Police seeking the name of an officer who was fired for racially offensive behavior. As a result of this case and the George Floyd murder and outrage, a Law Enforcement directive was given by Attorney General Gurbir Grewal that required agencies to disclose the identities of officers who commit serious disciplinary violations. This was a reversal of a decades long policy.

HAMILTON — Township cops historically removed bras and subjected female prisoners to improper strip searches until a woman filed an explosive lawsuit resulting in a large settlement payout, a Hamilton police source alleged.

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Two Asbury Park police officers donned disguises to exact revenge on a citizen who filed a complaint against them by slashing the tires on two of his vehicles, authorities announced Wednesday.

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I did not realize that the odor of marijuana, without more, justified a roadside, under-clothes search of a motorist's genitals and anus by a State Trooper clad in latex gloves. I received this video in response to an Open Public Records Act (OPRA) request made to the New Jersey State Police.

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.

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."

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.

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.

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.

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.

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."

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.

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.