Furious over a citizen filing a complaint against them, two New Jersey cops donned disguises before smashing the windows and slashing the tires of two cars belonging to the citizen.
They were arrested within 24 hours.
Asbury Park police officers Stephen Martinsen, 29, and Thomas Dowling, 26, were charged Wednesday with conspiracy, criminal mischief and weapons offenses, according to NJ.com. They are accused of disguising themselves on Tuesday, then riding their bicycles to the vehicles to vandalize them.
Asbury Park Police Chief David Kelso did not say how they were caught in the press release he issued Wednesday but said the actions of the two officers were “not acceptable and does not represent the level of professionalism, community focus or resident safety that we expect of our officers.”
The victim, Ernest Mignoli, is a longtime critic of the police department, filed a complaint against the two cops several days earlier but did not elaborate on the nature of the complaint when interviewed by NJ.com.
The victim, Ernest Mignoli, is an outspoken critic of Asbury Park and its police department. In an interview with NJ Advance Media, he said his “jaw dropped” when he learned that the people responsible for damaging two of his vehicles — a white Jeep Liberty and a Toyota Prius — were police officers.
“I just wouldn’t think it would be in the scope of police officers to do something like that,” he said. “I’m a concerned citizen, outspoken critic of Asbury Park Police Department. But this goes behind the pale.”
Mignoli would not comment on the nature of the administrative complaints he filed. But he said he’s constantly keeping a watchful eye on the police officers in the city he has lived in for 12 years.
“I’m constantly harassed by police wherever I go,” he said. “It’s just the nature of my work.”
Martinsen was suspended without pay while Dowling was fired. Prosecutors also say Dowling cut himself sticking his hand through the broken window.
Both cops are facing more than 20 years in prison if convicted of all charges, according to the Asbury Park Press.