On May 27, 2011, the New Jersey Libertarian Party’s Police Accountability Project filed an Internal Affairs (IA) complaint against Detectives Carlos Charon and Florence Ackerman of the Paterson (Passaic County) Police Department.  By way of a two-sentence letter dated March 29, 2013 (on-line here) Detective Sergeant Manuel Hernandez “concluded that the allegation was not sustained.”  According to the Attorney General’s Internal Affairs Guidelines, this means that “the investigation and a review of all information failed to disclose sufficient evidence to clearly prove or disprove the allegation.”

I have written back to Detective Sergeant Hernandez asking him to provide me with a more substantive and detailed response.  My letter is on-line here.

The matter arose out of the Appellate Division’s May 26, 2011 decision in State v. Anyoli R. Gonzalez, Docket No. A-0962-07T1, which is on-line here.  The decision indicates that Defendant Gonzalez, during his interview with Charon and Ackerman unequivocally requested an attorney.  Yet, Charon and Ackerman, “essentially changed the subject by asking whether he wanted to continue with his statement.”  This line of follow-up questioning, according to the court, improperly “placed the burden on [Gonzalez] to reassert his right to counsel.”  The court ultimately court suppressed Gonzalez’s videotaped interview because of the Detectives’ improper questioning. Further, Charon changed Gonzalez’s unequivocal request for lawyer, which was in Spanish, to a request for a lawyer “later.”  Thus, it appears that Charon, perhaps intentionally, attempted to alter the record of what was said to mislead the court.

–Subsequent action

04/10/13 – Paterson states that reason for finding was that “the video tape involving the interview of Anyoli R. Gonzalez by the two detectives could not be located.”  Click here to see Paterson’s letter.

Chairman of the New Jersey Libertarian Party's Open Government Advocacy Project. Please send all comments to [email protected]