Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Internal Affairs Complaint against Edison Police Officers

Police Accountability Project of the
New Jersey Libertarian Party

March 1, 2017

Sgt. Theodore Hamer
Internal Affairs Unit
Edison Township Police Department
(Via Fax to 732-248-7464)

Dear Sergeant Hamer:

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 the actions of Sergeant Michael Mintchwarner and Officers Christian Pedana, Christopher Teleposky and Timothy Farrell regarding an April 30, 2013 warrantless search at the Lexington Inn Hotel.

According to a March 1, 2017 Appellate Division opinion, the warrantless search of Korey Reeves' hotel room "was in violation of the search warrant requirement as unexcused by exigent circumstances."  As a result of the court's finding, 890 bundles of heroin were suppressed and Reeves' conviction for charges arising out the April 30, 2013 event were reversed.

If these officers, despite having received adequate training and direction regarding searches, decided 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
Email: paff@pobox.com

Internal Affairs Complaint against Raritan Township Police Officer

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.

According to a March 1, 2017 Appellate Division opinion, Donaruma's stop of Alessi's vehicle was "an unconstitutional stop and seizure."  The court suppressed the statement that Alessi made to Donaruma after the illegal traffic stop resulting in a reversal of Alessi's conviction and a remand for a new trial.

If Donaruma, despite having received adequate training and direction regarding traffic stops elected to ignore his training, we ask that you discipline him. 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
Email: paff@pobox.com

--Subsequent action

03/06/17 - Complaint acknowledged by Raritan Police. Click here.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

IA Complaint against Jersey City Police officers

Police Accountability Project of the
New Jersey Libertarian Party

November 29, 2016

Lieutenant Mark Miller
Jersey City Police Department, IA Unit
1 Journal Square Plaza – 4th Floor
Jersey City, NJ  07306            (Via Fax to 201-547-5512)

Dear Lieutenant Miller:

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 various Jersey City officers and other personnel employed by your agency acted in accordance with department policy and the law regarding a search of an apartment at 314 3rd Street, Jersey City on April 18, 2012.

According to Judge Adam E. Jacobs' August 1, 2013 opinion, which was affirmed by the Appellate Division on November 16, 2016 in State v. Brian Laurenza, Docket No. A-5606-13T4, the officers searched the apartment based on the defendant's wife's consent which was not voluntarily given.  The officers' failure to obtain a search warrant (or knowing and voluntary consent) resulted in the suppression of stolen goods that were found during the search.

If your officers, despite having received adequate training and direction regarding when and to obtain conduct to search a residence 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
Email: paff@pobox.com

Monday, May 2, 2016

IA Complaint against Trenton Police employees

New Jersey Libertarian Party's
Police Accountability Project

May 2, 2016

Trenton Police Department
Internal Affairs Unit
Via Fax only to 609-989-4235

Dear Sir or Madam:

We wish to file an Internal Affairs Complaint against the employee(s), whose identities are presently unknown, who are responsible for preparing and releasing the public reports required by "Requirement 10" on p 44 of the Attorney General's Internal Affairs Guideline (last revised July 2014).  As can be seen by the enclosed blog posting and the links contained within it, the most recent of either of those required reports covered the first half of 2012.

We assert that the  failure to prepare these reports for the second half of 2012 through to the present violates the Attorney General's requirements.  We ask that you determine which employees were tasked with the preparation of these reports and impose an appropriate quantum of discipline upon them.

Very truly yours,

John Paff

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

IA Complaint against Union County Assistant Prosecutor

Police Accountability Project of the
New Jersey Libertarian Party
P.O. Box 5424
Somerset, NJ  08875

June 3, 2015

Internal Affairs Unit
Union County Prosecutor’s Office
32 Rahway Avenue
Elizabeth, NJ 07202
(via e-mail only to ucpo@ucnj.org and by regular mail w/o attachment)

Dear Sir or Madam:

Please accept this as our Internal Affairs complaint against the Assistant Prosecutor whose name is presently unknown who, on August 17, 2011, elicited misleading testimony from Plainfield Detective Green by way of  "a series a leading questions that for the most part required Green to give the equivalent of a 'yes' or 'no' response."

As shown by the Appellate Division's June 3, 2015 decision in State v. Akilah N. Murphy, Docket No. A-3662-12T3, a copy of which is on-line here, Green "misrepresented the sequence of events that led Baber to request the assistance of additional officers" and the Assistant Prosecutor participated in this misrepresentation by asking the leading questions that led to the misrepresented testimony.

Thank you very much for your attention to this matter.  Please confirm receipt and conduct an investigation.

Very truly yours,

John Paff, Chairman
Police Accountability Project
Voice: 732-873-1251
Fax: 732-862-4449
E-mail: paff@pobox.com

IA Complaint against Plainfield Police Officers

Police Accountability Project of the
New Jersey Libertarian Party
P.O. Box 5424
Somerset, NJ  08875

June 3, 2015

Internal Affairs Unit
Plainfield Police Division
200 East Fourth Street
Plainfield, NJ 07060
(via regular mail)

Dear Sir or Madam:

Please accept this as our Internal Affairs complaint against Officer B. Baber, Lt. J.T. Plum, Detective Adam Green and other members of your agency who participated in the August 17, 2011 warrantless search of Akilah N. Murphy's apartment in the 500 block of West 8th Street or the subsequent securing of a search warrant by misrepresenting facts to the court.

We base our complaint upon the Appellate Division's June 3, 2015 decision in State v. Akilah N. Murphy, Docket No. A-3662-12T3, a copy of which is on-line here.  Notably, the court found that the warrantless search was "unwarranted" and that the officers who participated in it were "overzealous." The court determined that:
We hold that the Plainfield Police Officers who entered defendant's apartment on August 17, 2011, without a search warrant violated defendant's rights against unreasonable searches and seizures under both the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution of the United States and Article I, Paragraph 7 of the New Jersey Constitution.
As to Green, the court found that he offered only hearsay testimony, in response to leading questions, that "misrepresented the sequence of events that led Baber to request the assistance of additional officers."

Thank you very much for your attention to this matter.  Please confirm receipt and conduct an investigation.

Very truly yours,

John Paff, Chairman
Police Accountability Project
Voice: 732-873-1251
Fax: 732-862-4449
E-mail: paff@pobox.com

Monday, October 13, 2014

Roselle Park's improper handling of an Internal Affairs Complaint

Police Accountability Project of the
New Jersey Libertarian Party
P.O. Box 5424
Somerset, NJ  08875

October 13, 2014

Grace H. Park, Acting Prosecutor
Union County Prosecutor's Office
32 Rahway Avenue
Elizabeth, NJ 07202
via e-mail only to ucpo@ucnj.org

Dear Acting Prosecutor Park:

On October 1, 2014, the New Jersey Libertarian Party's Police Accountability Project filed an Internal Affairs complaint with the Roselle Park Police Department.  A copy of that complaint is on-line on our blog here.

Today, we received the following e-mail response to our complaint from Lieutenant Manuel Jimenez:
Re: Szabo v. RP settlement
The Roselle Park Police department is cognizant of the responsibilities it has in addressing any improper / inappropriate actions or procedures used by its police personnel.  The Roselle Park Police Department, and the Union County Prosecutor's Office are aware of the incident involving Mr. Szabo and pursuant to the NJ Attorney General Guidelines on Internal Affairs Policy and Procedures, the Roselle Park Police Department cannot disclose any further information.

Thank You,

Manuel Jimenez, Lieutenant
Roselle Park Police Department
110 E. Westfield Ave.
Roselle Park, NJ 07204
908-245-2300 ext. 2601
908-245-2311
The thrust of Jimenez's response is: "We know about the matter of which you complain.  We're working on it and won't tell you anything about it either now or in the future."  We don't believe that this response is consistent with the Attorney General's guidelines that Jiminez cites in his e-mail.

According to Page 4 of the Guidelines, on-line here, one of the "policy requirements that the Attorney has determined are critical and must be implemented by every law enforcement agency" includes a requirement that "[e]ach agency must thoroughly and objectively investigate all allegations against its officers" and "must notify complainants of the outcome of their complaint."

We believe that we are a bona fide complainant by virtue of the fact that we filed an Internal Affairs complaint.  We believe that our status as a complainant is not lessened or eliminated by the police department's apparent, previous awareness of the matter that is the subject of our complaint.

Accordingly, we believe that the Roselle Park Police Department is obliged to follow the guidelines regarding our complaint.  This includes conducting a thorough investigation and notifying us of the results of that investigation.

Please advise us of what you are going to do to help us with this matter.

Very truly yours,

John Paff, Chairman
New Jersey Libertarian Party
Police Accountability Project
P.O. Box 5424
Somerset, NJ  08875-5424
Phone: 732-873-1251 - Fax: 908-325-0129
E-mail: paff@pobox.com

cc. Hon. Joseph Accardi and Borough Council, via e-mail to the Clerk
Chief Paul Morrison, pmorrison@rosellepark.net
Lieutenant Manuel Jimenez, MJIMENEZ@rosellepark.net