Asbury Park cops admit vandalizing critic’s cars, won’t get prison
ASBURY PARK — Two former police officers have admitted they damaged the vehicles of a man who filed an internal affairs complaint against them.
Police Officer Stephen Martinsen, 31, and former Special Law Enforcement Officer II Thomas Dowling, 27, both of Asbury Park, were accused of smashing windows and slashing the tires, causing $500 worth of damage to the vehicles on Sept. 3.
They were charged with fourth-degree criminal mischief. Dowling was fired when he was initially charged and Martinsen suspended without pay.
As part of a plea deal, Dowling and Martinsen cannot accept future public employment. The state agreed to recommend a probationary sentence conditioned upon restitution being made to the victim for damage to the motor vehicles.
Ernest Mignoli told New Jersey 101.5 that the tires of his Prius were slashed at an Ocean Grove hotel where he was spending the night. The Jeep tires were damaged while parked at his home.
Days earlier, Mignoli had filed complaints after he said he witnessed a drunk officer riding a motorized scooter on the sidewalk outside Johnny Mac House of Spirits, a bar across the street from police headquarters.
He said he also filed complaints after seeing cops drinking alcohol at Asbury Park High School during a police and firefighter softball game in and at a police event at the Asbury Park Transportation Center both in June 2019.
“Spiteful retaliation from law enforcement officers towards a citizen for any reason is an unacceptable option. This is in no way condoned at any level, for any reason," Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni said in a written statement. "All members of the law enforcement community must maintain the public’s trust by conducting themselves at the highest level of integrity and decency.”
Sentencing for Dowling and Martinsen is scheduled for Oct. 16.