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Random Notes on NJ Government

No charges against cop who threw an off-duty hissy fit at local bar and exposed his weapon to bar patrons.

According to a police incident report, an off-duty police officer was harassing customers in a Medford Lakes pub at about 11 p.m. on February 27, 2014 and pulled up his shirt to show bar patrons a gun in his waistband.  The off-duty officer was not charged with a crime.  According to a May 2, 2018 memo from the officer’s police chief, “the matter was handled administratively.”

Medford Lakes Police responded to PJ Whelihan’s Pub in response to a complaint that an off-duty Eastampton Township (Burlington County) police officer was yelling at and harassing customers.  According to the incident report, Officer Michael Mulhern, who has been employed by the Eastampton PD since June 3, 2011 and who presently receives an $89,499 annual salary, confronted two of his Shawnee High School classmates with whom he played football.  When he learned that the pair had been “doing nothing” since graduating, he reportedly “became irate” and said that “he served three tours of duty in Iraq fighting for their freedom.”

After learning that Mulhern was a police officer, his former classmates asked him if he was a member of the Medford Police Department.  Mulhern reportedly replied that he was not a “p*ssy ass” Medford cop and pulled up his shirt to show a gun in his waistband.  According to the report, he later exposed his gun to two female patrons.  Mulhern had left the pub by the time police arrived.

Eastampton declined to say what punishment, if any, was imposed on Mulhern.  However, a Public Synopsis of Disciplinary Action (all New Jersey police departments are required to maintain a public synopsis by Attorney General guidelines), shows that Eastampton suspended one officer for 15 days in 2014.  While that officer is likely to have been Mulhern, there is no way of confirming this due to the confidentiality of Internal Affairs investigations and outcomes.

Eastampton’s Internal Affairs Summary Reports from for 2014 though 2017 (another public record required by Attorney General guidelines) show that three investigations were opened during 2014 for “other criminal violations” charged against Eastampton officers.  One of those investigations resulted in “internal disciplinary action” in 2014, one was determined to be “unfounded” in 2014 and one still remained open as of the end of 2017 and is probably still open as of the date of this writing.  The reports are flawed because the “cases pending” in the last column of the 2016 report do not correspond to the “cases pending from prior years” listed in the first column of the 2017 report.  Accordingly, readers are cautioned against relying on the accuracy of these reports.

By John Paff

Chairman of the New Jersey Libertarian Party's Open Government Advocacy Project