||New Jersey Libertarian Party
Open Government Advocacy Project:
State v. Paulsboro Police: Judge to decide whether cases move forward
- On May 5, 2011, Eltereake Mears of Billings Avenue, Paulsboro was arrested by Paulsboro Police. Shortly thereafter, Mears\' two brother, Shavon Mears and Artavious Mears went to the police department to inquire about his status. An altercation allegedly occurred that spilled out onto the street. The melee resulted in the Mears brothers filing five citizen complaints, alleging assault and harassment, against Paulboro Police Chief Francis J. Grogan, Detective Sergeant Vernon Marino and Investigator Gary Kille. According to the July 6, 2011 edition of the Gloucester County times, Chief Grogan is going to retire in September 2011.
The complaints, which were filed on July 15, 2011, along with the corresponding \"Complaint Information Forms\" and \"Certifications in Support of Probable Cause\" are on-line here:
The detailed charges made in the complaints are set forth at the bottom of this post.
Citizen complaints, such as the ones filed by the Mears brothers, cannot move forward unless and until \"probable cause\" is found to exist by either the Court Administrator or a Municipal Court Judge. According to my August 24, 2011 conversation with Gloucester County Municipal Division Manager Carole A. Cummings, the probable cause determination will be made by Westville Municipal Court Judge Thomas M. North. According to Cummings, Judge North will make the decision because it might present a conflict of interest for Paulsboro Municipal Court Judge William Golden to decide.
Although the complaints were filed more than a month ago, there has been no probably cause determination yet, and Cummings was not able to provide a date by which the determination will be made.
If probable cause is found, the matters will proceed to trial. If not, they will be dismissed and, according to Cummings, the Mears brothers will lack standing to appeal the dismissals.
John Paff, Chairman
New Jersey Libertarian Party\'s
Police Accountability Project
---Details of charges
The complaints allege that:
1. Eltereake Mears was pushing his five month old son in a stroller on May 5, 2011 in the area of Adams and Spruce Streets in Paulsboro when two police officers--Detective Sergeant Vernon Marino, Investigator Gary Kille--jumped out of their car to arrest Eltereake\'s friend, Daquan Belcher. The complaint alleges that Marino \"crashed into [the] baby\'s stroller knocking it sideways on two wheels\" with the baby inside. Eltereake claims that after he told Marino that \"he almost knocked [my] son out the stroller,\" some words were exchanged and Eltereake walked away. According to Eltereake, Marino jumped out his car \"a short time later\" and \"falsely arrested\" Eltereake. State v. Marino, Complaint No. 0814-S-2011-000396 (charging simple assault and harassment.)
2. Eltereake Mears claims that Kille, while arresting him, pushed him against a fence as he was holding his five month old\'s stroller and \"walked [him] to the trunk of the car hit [him] with the back of [Kille\'s] forearm slamming [his] face into the truck of the car.\" State v. Kille, Complaint No. 0814-S-2011-000395 (charging simple assault and harassment.)
3. Artavious Mears claims that when he and his brother, Shavon, went to the police station to check on Eltereake, the \"police were uncooperative and confrontational.\" He alleges that \"argument ensured\" as the brothers \"were walking away from the police.\" He says that Kille followed him outside, \"took [him] to the ground, bent [his] arm behind [his] back and arrested [him].\" State v. Kille, Complaint No. 0814-S-2011-000391 (charging simple assault and harassment.)
4 and 5. Shavon Mears claims that when he and his brother, Artavious, went to the police station to check on Eltereake, the \"police were uncooperative and confrontational.\" He alleges that \"argument ensured\" as the brothers \"were walking away\" that Marino and Chief Grogan followed them out. Marino allegedly \"ran towards [him] fast and attempted to throw [him] to the ground [and that] \"Grogan tackled [him] from behind and, as they fell to the ground, either Grogan or Marino \"punched [him] in the back of [his] head.\" State v. Marino, Complaint No. 0814-S-2011-000390 (charging simple assault and harassment) and State v. Grogan, Complaint No. 0814-S-2011-000389 (charging simple assault and harassment.)
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