There is continued debate surrounding the Bloomfield Police Department, which has been under investigation by the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office in connection with a number of prior incidents of alleged police misconduct.
In the most recent developments, Mayor Michael Venezia is attempting to subject the department’s Internal Affairs division to a period of suspension until the prosecutor’s office comes to some resolution with regard to this matter.
According to Keith Furlong, a Bloomfield spokesperson, the Mayor recently issued a memo suggesting that the Internal Affairs division discontinue all active investigations while the prosecutor’s office conducts its investigation. In addition, Samuel DeMaio, who once served as the director of the Newark Police Department, was enlisted by town officials to assess Bloomfield PD management strategies, a task he is scheduled to begin in the upcoming week.
The previous incidents currently under review involve two officers who were indicted after videos from police dashboard cameras were uncovered, the second of which was “mistakenly misfiled” according to Bloomfield Superior Officers Association president Joseph Krentz. Mayor Venezia publicly alleged that the “misfiling” was, in fact, an attempt by the Bloomfield Police Department to hide the incident.
The officers involved, Orlando Trinidad and Sean Courter, were recorded on film striking 30-year-old Bloomfield resident Marcus Jeter, in 2012. Jeter was facing charges for eluding,resisting arrest, and aggravated assault on a police officer but these charges were ultimately dismissed.
Trinidad and Courter are now facing charges including falsifying or tampering with records, after former Bloomfield Police Chief Chris Goul notified authorities about the second video in April.
Sergeant John Sierchio and Lieutenant Michael Cofone, the employees from the department’s internal affairs division who were originally tasked with investigating the incident, had dismissed the charges against the officers, until news of the second video emerged. It was only then that the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office became involved.
Updates with regard to this matter will be provided as they are made available.
For more information pertaining to this case: Bloomfield mayor requests suspension of police department’s internal affairs division