Edited by: TJV News
Two New Jersey police officers have admitted to slashing the tires of a pair of cars owned by a man who filed an internal affairs complaint against them, prosecutors said according to Asbury Park Press
Asbury Park Police Officer Stephen Martinsen, 31, and former Special Law Enforcement Officer Thomas Dowling, 27, pleaded guilty Tuesday to criminal mischief, admitting they vandalized the vehicles owned by an outspoken city resident critical of the department in September 2019, Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni announced.
As part of the plea agreements, the defendants permanently forfeited any future public employment in the State of New Jersey. Additionally, the State agreed to recommend a probationary sentence conditioned upon restitution being made to the victim for damage to the motor vehicles. Sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 16, 2020.
Martinsen has been suspended without pay since this incident. Dowling was terminated when the initial charges were filed. Martinsen had been part of the department since 2013, starting as a Special Law Enforcement Officer, Class 1 in May 2013, becoming a SLEO-2 in May 2014 and then becoming a full-time member of the force since July 2017. Dowling had been a SLEO-2 since May 2015- the prosecutors press release stated.
The case is being prosecuted by Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutor Melanie Falco, Director of the Office’s Professional Responsibilities and Bias Crime Unit.
“Spiteful retaliation from law enforcement officers towards a citizen for any reason is an unacceptable option,” Gramiccioni said in a statement. “This is in no way condoned at any level, for any reason.”
Dowling and Martinsen slashed the tires of a Jeep Liberty and Toyota Prius, and also smashed a window of one of the vehicles, causing $500 in damages, the prosecutor said.
Authorities have said the two officers donned disguises when they rode bicycles to the vehicles, which were parked in Ocean Grove and Asbury Park, NJ.com reports.