Prosecutor says police boss used bigoted terms; chief also under fire
ELIZABETH — It's a police department in turmoil. The civilian and uniformed leaders of the city's police department have both been accused of misconduct while prosecutors are taking over one of the department's functions.
The Union County Prosecutor's Office on Tuesday confirmed that it had taken over the department's internal affairs unit, which is tasked with investigating wrongdoing within the ranks.
A city spokeswoman told NJ.com that the action was the result of an officer's complaint against Police Chief John Brennan. The details of the accusation were not publicly revealed.
"The City of Elizabeth has been notified that the Prosecutor’s Office’s oversight will include comprehensive daily review of all disciplinary investigations and findings in order to ensure that the daily operations of the Department’s Internal Affairs Unit are functioning properly," the Prosecutor's Office said in a prepared statement Tuesday.
"The Prosecutor’s Office cannot comment on any specific internal affairs investigations."
Prosecutors, meanwhile, confirmed that investigators had been able to corroborate officers' complaints against civilian Police Director James Cosgrove, accusing him of using racist and sexist language against city employees.
Prosecutors earlier this month notified the attorney for the officers who had complained about Cosgrove that their office had forwarded their findings to the city for further action.
But attorney Joshua McMahon said Cosgrove remains on the job.
He called the prosecutor's take-over announcement on Tuesday "yet one more attempt to distract from the fact that the mayor’s self-appointed police director is a bigot and ought be immediately removed."
McMahon said about 20 employees provided statements to prosecutors regarding Cosgrove use of the "N word" and the "C word" when talking about women.
Erin Vogt contributed to this report.
Sergio Bichao is deputy digital editor at New Jersey 101.5. Send him news tips: Call 609-359-5348 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.