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..

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?

March 19, 2009

Office of Professional Standards
New Jersey State Police
810 Bear Tavern Road - Suite 310
West Trenton, NJ 08628 (via Fax only to 609-882-2033)

RE: Complaint against Troopers Locchetto and Howell

Dear Sir or Madam:

Today, I read the Appellate Division's unpublished decision in State v. Vernett Shaw and Paul Green, Docket No. A-4829-07T4, on the Judiciary's Internet site [Endnote 1]. After reading it, I came away with the conclusion that it's the policy and practice of the New Jersey State Police to conduct motor vehicle searches without regard to whether or not a search warrant is legally required.

As a life-long New Jersey resident, I was distressed at what I read and decided to file an Internal Affairs complaint against Troopers Lewis Locchetto and Howell [Endnote 2] for their actions arising out of a motor vehicle stop occurring at about 9:40 p.m. on February 24, 2007. Please accept this letter as my complaint.