At the root of one of my Open Public Records Act (OPRA) lawsuits headed to the Supreme Court is a police dashcam video of a January 29, 2014 incident which allegedly shows former Tuckerton Police Corporal Justin Cherry intentionally siccing a K-9 on a 57-year-old woman.

Despite having been indicted for the canine incident, Cherry filed a federal lawsuit against Tuckerton Borough on March 3, 2016 claiming that although he made a “split-second decision to deploy his K-9 partner [Gunner] to attempt to apprehend” Wendy Tucker, the 57-year-old woman, the “dog never apprehended Tucker.”  In a May 2, 2016 court filing in response to the Borough’s motion to dismiss, Cherry said that he “maintains his absolute innocence.”

Beyond Tucker’s alleged siccing incident, Cherry complained that Tuckerton officials failed to reimburse him for his “at home care” of Gunner and denied him training opportunities.  He also claimed that Police Chief Michael Caputo accused him of hacking his e-mails and that Caputo spoke to his son, Patrolman Joseph Caputo, about the Tucker incident instead of the officer who was in charge during that incident.  He also said that officials violated his rights by depriving him of being present at a meeting where his employment was discussed.

Cherry’s civil complaint and the briefs in support and in opposition to the Borough’s motion to dismiss are on-line here.  Sergeant Christopher Anderson is also named as a defendant in the suit.

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