Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXII, No. 38
 
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
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Borough Police Sergeant Indicted

Dilshanie Perera

Borough Police Sergeant Kenneth Riley was indicted on six criminal charges by a Mercer County grand jury last Friday. He was charged with two counts of computer criminal activity, two counts of unlawful access and disclosure of computer data, and two counts of official misconduct.

The case began in February with the suspension of Borough Police Sergeants Riley, and Kevin Creegan, as well as Patrolman William Perez after an internal affairs investigation. The officers continued to receive pay while suspended, although Sgt. Riley’s pay has been suspended following the indictment.

According to the County’s public information officer Casey DeBlasio, the three officers were part of the same investigation, but the grand jury found insufficient evidence to indict Sgt. Creegan or Patrolman Perez. They may still be charged as disorderly persons in municipal court, she noted.

Sgt. Riley allegedly accessed the Police Department’s “Mobile Vision Recorder” without authorization and showed the tape to other officers to “adversely affect another officer’s standing in the department,” according to the County’s press release.

The video footage in question shows a motor vehicle stop conducted by another sergeant in the police department, said Jeff Garrigan, Sgt. Riley’s Attorney. The officer apparently allowed the drunk driving suspect involved in the stop to urinate on public property, which is the “subject of a prior incident,” remarked Mr. Garrigan.

The incident in question involves the 60-day suspension of Borough Police officer Adam Basatemur last year following what was deemed to be misconduct during a motor vehicle stop. Lawrenceville resident Linda Fahmie was pulled over for allegedly speeding on her motorcycle, and when explaining to Officer Basatemur that she needed to use the bathroom, he reportedly told her to relieve herself on a nearby tree and that if she tried to leave she would be arrested.

Ms. Fahmie filed a lawsuit against the Borough and Police Department last month for the emotional damages and embarrassment suffered during the incident.

The sergeant in the video footage pertaining to the Riley case was not suspended, and it is alleged that Sgt. Riley accessed the footage to point out possible favoritism within the department.

Regarding the motivation behind accessing the database, Mr. Garrigan noted that the reasons were “all legitimate” but declined further comment.

Prior to the suspension of the three officers, the Policemen’s Benevolent Association Local 130 (PBA 130) union had filed an unfair labor practice complaint which claimed that Police Chief Anthony Frederico harbored anti-union sentiments. The union and department settled the dispute privately in April. Sgt. Creegan and Patrolman Perez are members of PBA 130.

Currently, Sgt. Riley is waiting for his case to be presented for arraignment. Regarding the criminal nature of the act, Mr. Garrigan said that “they’re saying he didn’t have authorization to access the tape, but what they’ll bring up as evidence remains to be seen.”

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