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NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—A police sergeant will be disciplined after violating the rights of this reporter and a colleague when he and other officers interrupted our live news broadcast and forced us off a public sidewalk.
The incident occurred on March 17 and was sparked by a call to police from security officers at St. Peter’s University Hospital.
The hospital’s spokesperson apologized swiftly for having us kicked off of Park Boulevard, but New Brunswick’s Police Department still has not followed suit after barging in on reporter Carlos Ramirez’s Spanish language broadcast.
Because internal affairs is a secret system, it’s unclear from the decision what rules or regulations Sgt. Eric Brown violated, what his discipline will be, or if any of the other officers involved will face punishment or not.
The incident occurred less than a week after the coronavirus outbreak had been declared a pandemic.
“I have thoroughly evaluated the information available in this case regarding the allegation(s) concerning the conduct Sergeant Eric Brown,” wrote Lt. Amish Shah. “The investigation is Sustained and revealed that the officer violated departmental rules and regulations.”
“He will be subject to appropriate discipline under our agency’s procedures,” wrote Shah.
Police initially said they would interview this reporter, but never followed up until after the case was already closed.
Our complaint was the fifth to be sustained against police this year out of more than 20 total cases. Information about each case is considered confidential, and officers’ identities and violations are generally kept secret.
Charlie is the founder and editor of New Brunswick Today, and the winner of the Awbrey Award for Community-Oriented Local Journalism. He is a proud Rutgers University journalism graduate, a community organizer, and a former independent candidate for mayor of New Brunswick.