New Jersey officers vandalize car of man who filed complaint against them

Two former officers of Asbury Park Police in New Jersey pleaded guilty to vandalizing the vehicles of a man who filed a complaint against them.

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Two former police officers in New Jersey pleaded guilty to vandalizing cars belonging to a man who filed a complaint against them.

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Stephen Martinsen and Thomas Dowling were still on-duty police officers in 2019 when they slashed tires on two cars and broke the windows in one. The men pleaded guilty to fourth-degree criminal mischief, according to the press release from Christopher J. Gramiccioni, Monmouth Country Prosecutor.

“Spiteful retaliation from law enforcement officers towards a citizen for any reason is an unacceptable option. This is in no way condoned at any level, for any reason,” the statement reads.

“All members of the law enforcement community must maintain the public’s trust by conducting themselves at the highest level of integrity and decency,” Gramiccioni said.

Their plea agreement means the men will not be able to hold public employment in the State of New Jersey in the future. The state also agreed to recommend a probationary sentence conditioned upon restitution being made to the victim for the $500 in damages.

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The citizen filed an internal affairs complaint against Martinsen and Dowling. Both admitted the cars were damaged in direct retaliation of the complaint. Details of what the citizen reported are not included, however, Asbury Park Police Chief David Kelso believes this shows the strength of their internal investigations.

“The cooperative efforts of the Asbury Park Police Department’s Internal Affairs Unit and the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office’s Professional Responsibility Unit is a clear example of how effective our current internal affairs policies are,” he says in the release.

“These officers were held accountable for their actions and misconduct and we will continue to hold our officer’s responsible to build upon the trust of the community that we serve.”

Martinsen, a member of the department since 2014 has been suspended without pay since the incident. Dowling, a full-time member since 2015 was terminated when the initial charges were filed.

The case is being prosecuted by Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutor Melanie Falco and sentencing is scheduled for October 16.

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