Indictment: Police officer allowed canine partner to attack
TOMS RIVER, N.J. (AP) -- A suspended southern New Jersey police officer who allegedly allowed his canine partner to bite a woman during an arrest has been indicted on numerous counts, including aggravated assault.
Ocean County prosecutors say Tuckerton officer Justin Cherry also faces two counts of official misconduct false swearing, tampering with public records and hindering his own apprehension in the indictment handed up Tuesday by a county grand jury. It was made public Wednesday.
Cherry faces a lengthy prison sentence if convicted on all counts.
Prosecutors said Cherry and another Tuckerton officer were called to a borough home in January 2014 and were told the woman was an "unwelcomed guest." The woman agreed to leave the residence, but the officers asked her to take a bus back to her Barnegat home instead of driving there after learning the woman's driving privileges were suspended.
The woman agreed to the request, prosecutors said, but Cherry soon saw her driving her vehicle and tried to pull her over. However, the woman allegedly kept driving until she stopped at the Barnegat Township Municipal Complex, where two officers took her into custody.
Officials say Cherry also followed her to the scene and allowed his police dog to attack her "unjustifiably." He then allegedly falsified reports to conceal what happened.
Cherry remains free on $15,000 bail. His attorney, Robert Rosenberg, was not available for comment Wednesday.
The woman initially was charged with driving with a suspended license and eluding, but the latter charge has since been dismissed.
Cherry was one of two Tuckerton officers who shot and killed a man wielding a meat cleaver during a domestic dispute in September 2011. He was cleared of wrongdoing following an investigation by the prosecutor's office and the state Attorney General's Office.