court confirms the suspension of 2 police officers and the dismissal of 1 | New Jersey News
HACKENSACK, NJ (AP) –
Two Hackensack police officers charged with a warrantless search should not have been fired, a New Jersey appeals court ruled. The court upheld the decision to fire a third.
The city had long sought to fire officers including Mark Gutierrez, Rocco Duardo and Victor Vazquez following the December 2016 search. The Civil Service Commission fired Gutierrez this year, but imposed a six-month suspension on both. others and ordered Hackensack to reinstate them.
Three Superior Court appeals judges upheld the suspensions of the two officers on Thursday, saying the commission’s decision “was neither arbitrary nor capricious,” NorthJersey.com reported.
The judges upheld the decision to fire Gutierrez, saying the commission found his actions “serious enough to warrant his dismissal from the police department.”
A total of seven police officers were suspended in 2017 after being accused of illegally searching an apartment and then falsifying a police report to cover it up.
An officer’s incident report said he was investigating a possible illegal sale of firearms, but only entered the unit after a resident said he could have an unattended child inside. An internal investigation concluded that the officers had concocted this story as a pretext for the search.
Then-Bergen County District Attorney Gurbir S. Grewal, now state attorney general, dismissed eight criminal cases and told prosecutors in Hackensack not to prosecute more. The city then decided to fire the officers, arguing that they could not perform their duties if they could not credibly testify in court.
In 2018, a judge said the incident report was misleading and false, rendering the search inappropriate but not warranting termination, calling it a sentence of last resort for the most serious offenses.
In May, an administrative law judge recommended the reinstatement of officers who had not retired since, saying they had never had a fair chance to challenge their designation on the “Brady List” as officers whose history of lying should be disclosed to defense lawyers in criminal cases. .
Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.