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.
According to Judge Sheila A. Venable's June 28, 2016 written decision, which was affirmed by the Appellate Division on April 27, 2017 in State v. Lamont Tiller and Rasheem Davis, Docket No. A-0137-16T1, the officers improperly entered the van after seeing the heroin inside. Judge Venable ruled, and the Appellate Division agreed, that the "plain view doctrine" did not legitimize the search because the officers were already aware that the minivan contained heroin. Judge Venable noted that "police relied on the plain view doctrine only in pretense." The court ruled that the 500 glassine bags of heroin found as a result of the search could not be used as evidence against the defendants.
If your officers, despite having received adequate training and direction regarding motor vehicle searches elected to ignore their training, we ask that you discipline them. Otherwise, we ask that your department review and supplement your training requirements in this area of the law.
Thank you for your attention to this matter.
Very truly yours,
John Paff, Chairman
New Jersey Libertarian Party
Police Accountability Project
08/15/17: Called IA Unit and learned that complaint was received, was assigned to Sgt. Jackson and given docket number IAU 2017-046.