COP PLEADS GUILTY TO ASSAULT, LOSES JOB
A Red Bank patrolman will lose his job but won’t face jail time after pleading guilty to assault and falsifying police records, the Asbury Park Press is reporting.
Officer Steven Adams, 28, was indicted in October by a Monmouth County Grand Jury on aggravated assault and other alleged crimes arising from the arrest of a Middletown man following the borough’s 2006 Kaboom Fireworks show.
The five-year veteran pleaded guilty yesterday to two disorderly persons charges before Superior Court Judge Ira Kreitzman, who is scheduled to sentence Adams on Feb. 8, the Press reports.
From the article:
The Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office told the court it will not seek jail time for Adams. Prosecutor Luis A. Valentin said the court had already ordered Adams to forfeit his job and that he “is forever disqualified from holding any future public office in the State of New Jersey.”
Disorderly persons offenses are punishable by a maximum of six months in jail and a fine, offcials said.
The charges stem from his handling of a prisoner, Jonathan Wilson of Middletown, on July 4, 2006.
Wilson had been arrested as a disorderly person by other Red Bank officers and left in Adams’ custody, the prosecutor’s office said. During his guilty plea, Adams told Kreitzman that as he was removing Wilson from his patrol car he
pushed the handcuffed man forward. Wilson then fell face first on to the pavement, receiving injuries to his teeth and chin, the prosecutor’s office said.
Adams told the judge that he “misrepresented” some of what happened in that parking lot when he wrote his police report on the matter.
“We place great trust in our police officers to serve the public in an honorable fashion,” Valentin said. “Adams abused that trust by his unlawful and egregious conduct. He then compounded his unlawful conduct by falsifying his official
Adams’ attorney, Mitchell Ansell, said he and his client were satisfied with the plea agreement.
“Steve had always maintained and still maintains that he is not guilty of the second degree official misconduct and aggravated assault charges,” Ansell said. “We believe these new charges and this plea more accurately reflect what happened that night. Steve is looking forward to putting this behind him and getting on with his life.”
The initial Press account makes no mention of a federal civil rights lawsuit filed by Wilson against Adams, the borough and Police Chief Mark Fitzgerald. In it, Wilson gives a different account of what happened, including who arrested him and where his injuries occurred.
Here’s what redbankgreen reported about that suit in October:
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 attorneys 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 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 Star-Ledger identifies Adams as a resident of Beachwood, in Ocean County.