Police Accountability Project of the
New Jersey Libertarian Party
P.O. Box 5424
Somerset, NJ  08875

January 6, 2014

Internal Affairs Unit
Highland Park Police Department
222 S. Fifth Ave.
Highland Park, NJ  08904
(Via webform submission)

Dear Sir or Madam:

I chair the New Jersey Libertarian Party’s Police Accountability Project and ask that you accept this letter as our Internal Affairs complaint.  We would like your agency to investigate whether Lieutenant Gary Panichella and other officers and personnel employed by your agency acted in accordance with department policy and the law regarding a September 18, 2008 incident involving Jerome Shaw and Ada Knowles.

According to the Appellate Division’s January 3, 2014 decision in State v. Shaw and Knowles, Docket No. A-0971-11T1 and A-1318-11T1 (on-line here), Lieutenant Panichella conceded that he had “only had a ‘hunch’ that something was wrong,” subjected Shaw to a Terry stop.  The court also found that “the warrantless seizure of [a black shoulder] bag, and the ensuing inventory search of its contents at the station house, was unconstitutional.”

If your officers, despite having received adequate training and direction regarding when and how to conduct warrantless searches elected to ignore their training, we ask that you discipline them. Otherwise, we ask that your department review and supplement your training requirements in this area of the law.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Very truly yours,

John Paff, Chairman
New Jersey Libertarian Party
Police Accountability Project
P.O. Box 5424
Somerset, NJ  08875-5424
Phone: 732-873-1251 – Fax: 908-325-0129
Email: [email protected]

–Subsequent action

01/08/14 – Captain Scott Golden acknowledged receipt of complaint. Click here.
02/24/14 – Captain Scott Golden dismissed complaint.  Click here.

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