A Red Bank police patrolman has been indicted for aggravated assault and other alleged crimes arising from the arrest of a Middletown man following the borough’s 2006 Kaboom Fireworks show, according to a report in the Asbury Park Press.


An indictment against Ptl. Steven Adams was handed up yesterday by a Monmouth County grand jury sitting in Freehold, the Press reports.

Adams was charged with aggravated assault, official misconduct and falsifying records in connection with the arrest of 22-year-old Jonathan Wilson, who was in town to watch the fireworks.

At the time, Wilson was charged with aggravated assault on a police officer and disorderly conduct.

From the Press:

In the early morning hours of July 4, Wilson was arrested on a disorderly conduct charge.

Wilson was arrested by another officer and turned over to Adams for transportation to police headquarters. Wilson was taken to headquarters and, while still in Adams’ custody, suffered injuries in the parking lot there.

The prepared statement released by Monmouth County Prosecutor Luis A. Valentin did not describe Wilson’s injuries. Detective Capt. Stephen McCarthy of the Red Bank Police Department deferred all questions about the investigation to the Prosecutor’s Office.

Some of those details, however, appear to conflict with Wilson’s own account of events, outlined in a federal lawsuit he filed in February of this year against Adams, the borough and police Chief Mark Fitzgerald.

In it, Wilson claims that he was standing in a parking lot behind the Globe restaurant at about 11:30 on the night of the fireworks when police arrived to quell one of several disturbances reported that night. Ordered to disperse with other bystanders, Wilson claimed he was walking down Broad Street with a female companion a few minutes later when Adams drove up in a black car, pulled Wilson’s arms behind his back and pushed him face first into the asphalt, breaking four teeth and causing facial lacerations.

At the police station in borough hall, Wilson claimed, he was “pushed, shoved and cursed by numerous other police officers.” There’s no mention of the borough hall parking lot in Wilson’s complaint. Download WilsonvRB.pdf

Several hours later, the suit alleges, police took Wilson to Bayshore Community Hospital for treatment. When he asked to be taken back to police headquarters to file a complaint, Wilson says he was told by unnamed officers that the police there would “kick his ass” if he returned. Instead, they released him on his own recognizance.

Elsewhere in court papers, Wilson’s attorney have raised the suggestion that Adams mistook Wilson for another suspect, who is named in the documents and who is said to have kicked in the window of a police car during a scuffle that night.

In court papers, Adams denied Wilson’s allegations.

According to documents filed in connection with Wilson’s lawsuit, the prosecutors office informed Wilson that no action would be taken on the charges against him until the completion of an investigation into police brutality that Wilson alleged.

Still, in July, over objection’s by Wilson’s lawyer, U.S. District Judge Mary Cooper terminated Wilson’s lawsuit on the grounds that the charges against him should first be adjudicated before the suit could proceed. Download wilson_opinion_70907.pdf

The Press reports that yesterday’s indictment resulted from an investigation by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s office “in conjunction with the Red Bank Police Department’s internal affairs unit.”

More from the Press on the Adams indictment:

The investigation also revealed that Adams misrepresented certain facts in his police report regarding what transpired in the parking lot while removing Wilson from the police car…

State Superior Court Judge Ira E. Kreizman, sitting in Freehold, ordered that Adams be released on his own recognizance. No date was given for his arraignment.

Adams was on duty at the time of the incident. He has been suspended without pay, effective today, the prosecutor said.

McCarthy said Adams has been on the force since January 2003. He was assigned to the patrol division.

Adams faces two counts of official misconduct, a second-degree crime that carries a maximum sentence of 10 years on each count, and one count of aggravated assault, which also carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. The assault charge is subject to the No Early Release Act, meaning Adams, if convicted, would be required to serve 85 percent of his sentence before being eligible for parole.

The officer also faces one count of falsifying records, which carries a maximum prison term of 18 months.

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