Two Asbury Park Police Officers admitted that they vandalized vehicles in retaliation for a citizen’s internal affairs complaint, Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni announced today.
Asbury Park Police Officer Stephen Martinsen, 31, and former SLEO-2 Thomas Dowling, 27, both of Asbury Park, entered guilty pleas virtually today to fourth-degree Criminal Mischief before Monmouth County Superior Court Judge Vincent N. Falcetano, Jr.
The officers admitted to slashing the tires of one car and smashing the window of another on September 2, 2019 between 3 a.m. and 4 a.m. One car was located in Ocean Grove, the other in Asbury Park. The men admitted their criminal actions, which caused at least $500 in damage, were made in retaliation of an internal affair complaint being filed.
As part of their plea agreement both men have forfeited any future public employment in the State of New Jersey. The Prosecutor is recommending probationary sentences . Sentencing is scheduled for October 16, 2020.
“Spiteful retaliation from law enforcement officers towards a citizen for any reason is an unacceptable option. This is in no way condoned at any level, for any reason. All members of the law enforcement community must maintain the public’s trust by conducting themselves at the highest level of integrity and decency,” Gramiccioni said.
“The cooperative efforts of the Asbury Park Police Department’s Internal Affairs Unit and the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office’s Professional Responsibility Unit is a clear example of how effective our current internal affairs policies are. These officers were held accountable for their actions and misconduct and we will continue to hold our officers responsible to build upon the trust of the community that we serve,” Asbury Park Police Chief David Kelso said.
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 case is being prosecuted by Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutor Melanie Falco, Director of the Office’s Professional Responsibilities and Bias Crime Unit.