Essex County Law enforcement faces another charge of smuggling contraband

No Comments » Written on May 1st, 2015 by
Categories: Uncategorized

Newark- An Essex County corrections officer pleaded guilty on Thursday to accepting a $1,000 bribe in exchange for smuggling contraband to an inmate at the Essex County Correctional Facility, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.

John Grosso, 41, of Belleville, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge
Stanley R. Chesler to one count of conspiring to commit extortion under color of official right, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Grosso faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, and he must forfeit the $1,000 bribe, the release states. His sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 19.

Grosso admitted to accepting the bribe in December 2013 from a relative of the inmate at the Essex County jail in exchange for smuggling a cell phone and cigarettes to the prisoner, authorities said.

Grosso met with the relative in Secaucus to accept the contraband and bribe before delivering the items to the inmate, authorities said.

The case was brought in U.S. District Court, because the Essex County facility also houses detainees awaiting trial on federal charges.

Another corrections officer at the jail, Stephen Solomon, was sentenced on March 25 to 18 months in prison for accepting $4,000 in cash bribes to smuggle marijuana, cell phones and other banned items into the facility.

Solomon pleaded guilty in October to a single count of conspiring to commit extortion under color of official right.

Fugitive hid in bushes during a gun bust

No Comments » Written on May 1st, 2015 by
Categories: Uncategorized

Newark- — An anonymous tip, chase through city back yards, and a search through the bushes led to three arrests on gun charges in Newark Thursday night.

According to a release from police, an anonymous caller alerted them to a Nissan Sentra in the area of Aldine Street and Forest Avenue at about 7:25 p.m. Thursday night. The three men in the car were in possession of various weapons, the caller told police.

When responding officers attempted to pull over the car, the passenger in the front seat – later identified as 20-year-old Shyheim Myles – bolted, police said. Myles allegedly threw a loaded 9mm handgun he was holding, ran through several yards, and scaled a concrete wall before police caught him on the 100 block of Dewey Street, authorities said. Officers found him hiding in bushes, police said.

The other two men in the car – Tyler Mickens, 21, and Isaiah Myles, 18 — were arrested as they attempted to flee from the vehicle, police said. In the car, authorities said they found a semi-automatic rifle loaded with nine rounds.

All three were arrested on weapons charges, police said.

The arrests are the second in as many days police credited to anonymous tip calls from residents. Newark Police Director Eugene Veneble said in a statement that the “trust” being built between residents and the police department – a long-strained relationship in the city – is “monumental.”

Drunk driver crashes into NJ Transit bus in Newark

No Comments » Written on May 1st, 2015 by
Categories: Uncategorized

Newark- A drunk driver ran a red light and crashed into an NJ Transit bus this morning, leaving at least eight people injured, a television station reported

The vehicle drove into the bus around 2 a.m. near the intersection of Central Avenue and South 8th Street in Newark, according to WNBC-4.

The badly injured driver of the car tried to flee on foot but was arrested at a nearby gas station, the report said. His blood alcohol content was more than twice the legal limit, Channel 4 reported. The passenger in the car and six bus riders were also hurt, several critically.

The bus driver wasn’t injured, but was taken to the hospital to be checked, WPIX-11 reported.

The intersection remained closed early Friday, according to NJ Transit’s Twitter feed. The No. 34 bus is being detoured. Buses are using 11th, South 7th and West Market Streets.

According to the Associated Press, the crash is being investigated by the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office.

Ironbound shooting victim was shot in the back

No Comments » Written on May 1st, 2015 by
Categories: Uncategorized

RLS Metro

Newark- Police are investigating a shooting that occurred in the city’s East Ward that left a man hospitalized.

The shooting happened shortly after 1 a.m. in the 30’s block of Riverview Court where authorities arrived a short time later to find the victim suffering injury from gunfire.

EMS transported the alert and conscious man to University Hospital with serious injuries to his back. The motive for the shooting is under investigation by Newark Police.

Newark Shooting victim is driven to hospital in private car

No Comments » Written on May 1st, 2015 by
Categories: Uncategorized

RLS Metro

Newark- Police in Newark setup a crime scene near a gas station in the area of Central Ave. and South 8th Street where they began to search for evidence regarding a possible shooting that may have occurred at that location.

A victim suffering injury from gunfire reportedly walked into University Hospital at around 11 p.m. stating he was injured near the gas station.

The victim was transported to the hospital via of private vehicle reportedly with non-life threatening injuries.

There were also reports of gunfire around the city including one in the area of Stratford Ave. overnight.

Newark PD welcomes class of 51 Police Recruits

No Comments » Written on April 30th, 2015 by
Categories: Uncategorized

Newark- A class of 51 police officer recruits were officially welcomed during a ceremony in Newark this morning — the first in a series of additions to the undermanned department promised by Mayor Ras Baraka.

The group, made up of 40 men and 11 women, will now embark on six months of training in hopes of officially joining the force later this year. If successful, they would boost the city’s total number of officers to 1,001.

Baraka took to a podium at Abysinnian Baptist Church to praise the recruits as being crucial to the fulfillment of his promise to put more police on the city’s beleaguered streets.

“You are those resources. You are those people we’ve been waiting for,” he said.

The class is the first of three planned for this year to round out Baraka’s plans to add 150 new officers to the department’s roster.

Last April, another class of 51 recruits entered the academy — the police department’s first new additions since 160 officers were laid off in 2010. Of the class, 35 successfully completed their training, and officially joined the force in September.

Baraka was joined by Police Director Eugene Venable, Police Chief Anthony Campos, members of the city’s Municipal Council and other dignitaries at the ceremony, where recruits and their family members crowded the church pews.

Venable said Newark was in “dire need” of as many as 300 more officers, and that the new class would be counted on to both fight crime and help the process of repairing the relationship between the department and citizens.

“We’re transforming from a police department who has a disconnect with our youth, who has a disconnect with its citizens,” he said. “These are the people we have specifically hired to…go through this transformation in our city.”

Should they complete their training at the academy, the new recruits will join the ranks of a department in the midst of a wide-ranging transition.

In July, the U.S. Department of Justice released a report alleging widespread abuse of citizens’ civil rights and disproportionate targeting of African-Americans. The agency is currently in the process of choosing a monitor that will oversee a range of reforms to its disciplinary system, training and other procedures — making Newark the 13th city in the country to operate under such a system.

The new recruits were advised that the federal government is far from the only entity that will be watching them closely, saying police are under also unprecedented levels of scrutiny from the public.

The mayor referenced escalating anti-police sentiment in Baltimore, where scores of citizens have engaged in often-violent protests after a 25-year-old man died from injuries he sustained after an encounter with officers earlier this month.

“It’s not a story about Maryland, it’s a story about this country. And we live here. And so you have a very difficult, difficult job in a critical, critical time,” he said.

“The work you are doing is good work, it’s not evil work…Wherever you step people should say ‘Good has arrived’ because they see that badge on your shoulder.”

Newark Man arrested with 32,000 bags of heroin

No Comments » Written on April 30th, 2015 by
Categories: Uncategorized

Central, PA – A 38-year-old Newark man has been indicted on heroin trafficking charges in Central Pennsylvania.

Authorities allege they found about two pounds, 32,000 bags, of heroin in Ladon Huntley’s car after pulling him over on Interstate 81 in Lower Paxton Township on March 31.

Huntley is charged with conspiring with unknown individuals to distribute the heroin and with traveling interstate to facilitate heroin trafficking, according to U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Pennsylvania Peter Smith.

Huntley faces up to 45 years in prison if he is convicted, Smith said.

Newark Police arrest 2 people with loaded handguns

No Comments » Written on April 30th, 2015 by
Categories: Uncategorized

Newark- City police arrested two people after finding them with loaded handguns in separate incidents Wednesday and early Thursday, authorities said.

According to Newark police spokesman Sgt. Ronald Glover, narcotics detectives received an anonymous tip around 4 p.m. that two men were dealing drugs at the corner of 18th Avenue and Melrose Avenue.

Armed with a description of the suspects, they set up surveillance and soon spotted their suspects, including 18-year-old Wil McCord, talking on the corner.

They watched as McCord walked to the rear of a nearby restaurant to remove a white plastic bag from a fan window, counting it and placing it back before returning to the corner, Glover said.

The detectives quickly detained McCord, and found the bag filled with bags and jugs of a marijuana, along with a loaded 9-millimeter handgun, according to Glover.

McCord was charged with unlawful possession of a weapon and various marijuana offenses.

The second arrest occurred shortly after midnight this morning, when members of the city’s Violence Reduction Initiative saw 26-year-old Kadeem Reddick carrying a loaded .38-caliber handgun as he got out of a parked Jeep Cherokee in the area of South 15th Street and 14th Avenue, according to Glover.

After noticing the officers, Reddick reentered the SUV and allegedly tossed the weapon onto the floor.

He was taken into custody and officers seized the weapon, which Glover said had been reported stolen out of Newark.

Reddick was charged with weapons offenses and receiving stolen property.

In a statement, Police Director Eugene Venable said the first incident exemplified the value of the anonymous tip line’s ability not only to solve crimes, but also to improve interactions and build trust between the police department and public.

“I encourage citizens to access every means provided by the department to continue on that road to an improved quality of life and sustained police-community relations,” he said.

Mayor Sharpe James comments on Supreme Court’s decision

No Comments » Written on April 30th, 2015 by
Categories: Uncategorized

Newark- — Calling the New Jersey Supreme Court and other state officials “mere pawns” of Gov. Chris Christie, former Newark Mayor Sharpe James on Wednesday railed against the court’s decision to not hear an appeal over his use of campaign funds to pay legal expenses in a criminal probe.

James also suggested the ruling by the state’s highest court was an act of racial discrimination against him.

“Yesterday’s Supreme Court ruling and remarks of the NJ Attorney General proves unequivocally that they are afraid of and tools of Gov. Christopher Christie and an African American has no justice in New Jersey,” James wrote in a series of emails to NJ Advance Media.

State officials declined to comment on James’s criticism.

James had asked the Supreme Court to consider his appeal after an appellate panel in January upheld a lower court’s ruling that he violated state campaign finance laws by using about $94,000 in campaign cash to cover legal bills in the criminal case that ultimately sent him to federal prison.

That ruling was initially handed down in August 2012 as part of a lawsuit filed against James and others in 2011 by the Election Law Enforcement Commission.

In his petition to the Supreme Court, James alleged ELEC’s position in his case was inconsistent with how it allowed Gov. Chris Christie’s re-election campaign to use its funds in response to subpoenas in investigations related to the closure of access lanes to the George Washington Bridge.

James claimed in an email that the disparate treatment represents a “‘double standard,’ grossly unfair and un-American in its worst form.”

Noting that Christie is considered a potential presidential candidate, James argued the state courts, ELEC and the New Jersey Attorney General are “scared to death of Gov. Christie” and decided “not to embarrass him as opposed to rendering fairness and justice.”

But the Attorney General’s Office has argued James’s case is different than the one involving the governor’s campaign, because James was the target of a grand jury investigation and the campaign was not, according to court documents.

The subpoenas in James’s matter were directed to his campaign treasurer and his State Senate office, but “they involved the criminal investigation of Mr. James,” according to a brief filed with the Supreme Court by the Attorney General’s Office.

James has argued that, since he did not receive any subpoenas personally, his use of campaign funds should have been viewed in the same way as the governor’s campaign.

The campaign funds in James’s case were spent on legal services provided before and after James was indicted in July 2007 on charges of fraud and conspiracy.

A jury convicted James in 2008 of illegally steering city land to a former girlfriend at the time, Tamika Riley. James served an 18-month sentence in federal prison in Virginia before returning to Newark in April 2010.

James served as mayor from 1986 to 2006, and as a state senator from 1999 to 2008

Newark Restaurant owner claims self-defense after shooting teenager

No Comments » Written on April 30th, 2015 by
Categories: Uncategorized

Newark- Outside his Newark restaurant in June 2013, Clement Romans fired a gun amid a crowd of juveniles and struck one 17-year-old boy in the back of the neck.

But jurors at Romans’s trial must decide whether he acted in self-defense or committed the crime of aggravated assault.

In closing statements on Thursday, attorneys presented those two scenarios to the jury to explain the June 29, 2013 shooting of Daquan Jones outside Romans’s Golden Krust Caribbean Bakery and Grill off Lyons Avenue. Jones survived his injuries.

Romans, 61, of Scotch Plains, is charged with aggravated assault, weapons offenses and tampering with evidence. With the tampering charge, Romans is accused of hiding the gun from police after the shooting.

Saying “juveniles can be more treacherous than adults,” Romans’s attorney, Hassen Abdellah, argued his client armed himself and acted in self-defense, because he feared for his safety.

“You know when something is about to go down in the neighborhood,” Abdellah said.

Using surveillance video of the incident, Abdellah claimed Romans was returning to the business from his car when one of the juveniles followed him and hit Romans in the back of the head.
clement-romansClement RomansEssex County Correctional Facility

After being struck, Romans fell forward and the gun went off, said Abdellah, who disputed the state’s argument that Romans’s arm was raised at the time of the shooting.

“I’m still kind of baffled by how Daquan Jones actually got shot,” Abdellah said.

But Essex County Assistant Prosecutor Carlo Fioranelli pointed to surveillance video and argued Romans can be seen walking toward the juveniles with both arms raised and firing into the crowd.

Fioranelli challenged the defense theory that Romans was falling forward when the gun went off by noting Jones was shot in the back of the neck.

Romans was the only person armed with a gun, which was loaded with hollow-point bullets, Fioranelli said. His intention was to use that weapon to chase the juveniles away from his business, not to protect himself, Fioranelli said.

“He has a problem with them being in front of his store, ’cause he’s the boss,” Fioranelli said. “He’s got a problem with these kids being there…Doesn’t mean you can get a gun and shoot one of the kids.”

Fioranelli disputed the defense claim that Romans was attacked, but told jurors that even if they believed that, Romans was “not justified in using deadly force.”

“He was not under threat of deadly force,” Fioranelli said. “He can only use deadly force if he’s under threat of deadly force.”