👮‍♂️ A drunk, off-duty cop beat a man at a Bordentown Township hotel last summer

👮‍♂️ The victim was charged with simple assault, which another cop called "ridiculous"

👮‍♂️ Sickler was suspended without pay after a domestic violence incident, officials said

BORDENTOWN TOWNSHIP — A man who still suffers from daily headaches and neck pain one year after a hotel brawl with a drunk, off-duty Mercer County Sheriff's officer says he's been denied justice.

Chris Lopez, a 61-year-old father of a young son, pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct in Bordentown Township Municipal Court last week. It's the same deal Mercer County Sheriff's Officer Matthew Sickler and his Trenton police officer girlfriend Tara Dzurkoc, took in connection to the violence in the lobby of the Bordentown Best Western on Aug. 20, 2022.

The brawl began after Sickler, visibly drunk and holding a bottle of alcohol, entered the hotel lobby and hurled anti-Semetic slurs at the dad who was trying to get a room, Lopez said to New Jersey 101.5 last year.

A hotel employee who was also attacked corroborated Lopez's story, bodycam footage obtained by New Jersey 101.5 showed. The same footage showed that a Bordentown Township cop told Lopez he could be charged with simple assault for defending himself, which she admitted was "ridiculous."

Lopez feels he still hasn't had his day in court, he said to New Jersey 101.5 after last week's court hearing.

Matt Sickler and Tara Dzurkoc speak to police. (Bordentown Township police)
Matt Sickler and Tara Dzurkoc speak to police. (Bordentown Township police)

"I felt I was railroaded. Coerced into doing something I didn't want to," Lopez said.

Lopez said he had COVID-19 the morning of the hearing on Aug. 30, 2023. But the judge insisted he attend.

Sweating and sick, Lopez showed up. He took a COVID-19 test in the courtroom and tested positive for the virus. Lopez asked for a postponement. He also said to the judge that he had barely spoken with his public defender, Jeffrey Snow, and asked for a new one.

Arm and hand injuries Lopez suffered at the Bordentown Best Western on 8/20/2022. (Chris Lopez)
Arm and hand injuries Lopez suffered at the Bordentown Best Western on 8/20/2022. (Chris Lopez)

On their way out of the courtroom, Snow said to Lopez that he should take a plea deal that would downgrade the simple assault charges for Sickler, Dzurkoc, and Lopez to disorderly conduct. The plea agreement also includes eligibility for conditional dismissal after one year. Sickler and Dzurkoc were fined $433, while Lopez was fined $633 because he used a public defender.

"He told me if I didn't take the deal I would face charges and they would be testifying against me. Having already enraged the judge, I didn't feel I would do well in a trial. I felt the rails were already greased and everything was already prearranged. I took the same deal and have been kicking myself ever since," Lopez said.

Snow said he does not speak to reporters on a phone call with New Jersey 101.5.

Tara Dzurkoc waves to a police body-worn camera on Aug. 20, 2022. (Bordentown Township police)
Tara Dzurkoc waves to a police body-worn camera. (Bordentown Township police)

Officers are suspended without pay

Peter Alfinito, the defense attorney for Dzurkoc, said to NJ.com that his client took responsibility for her actions but did not admit to any assault. Dzurkoc remains suspended without pay from the Trenton police, according to the report.

Sickler also remains suspended without pay as the Mercer County Sheriff's officer navigates other criminal charges.

The cop was arrested in Plumsted Township on Feb. 24 after what the Mercer County Sheriff's Office called a "domestic violence situation." He was charged with aggravated assault, terroristic threats, eluding and resisting arrest, and possession of a weapon for unlawful purposes, according to officials.

Sickler hit a woman in the ribs, then put a handgun to her head and in her mouth, according to a criminal complaint. Court documents said he threatened to kill her, then pointed the gun at himself and threatened to pull the trigger.

"I have no tolerance for such incredibly bad and dangerous behavior by an officer. Stickler has violated the special trust and confidence in his role as a law enforcement officer," Mercer County Sheriff Jack Kemler said at the time.

New Jersey 101.5 was unable to immediately defense attorney information for Sickler. The attorney did not respond to a call from NJ.com.

Report a correction 👈 | 👉 Contact our newsroom

Top NJ contributions to President Biden's re-election campaign

In New Jersey. these are the top campaign contributors (of at least $2,000) to donate to President Biden's re-election as of June 30, 2023. The list also includes contributions made to the Democratic National Committee, which is also spending on Biden's re-election. Donations to the DNC are labeled as such.

LOOK: Cities with the most expensive homes in New Jersey

Stacker compiled a list of cities with the most expensive homes in New Jersey using data from Zillow.

Wow! Aaron Rodgers new home in New Jersey: Inside and out

Here's a look at New York Jets Aaron Rodgers' new Montclair home with 8 bedrooms and 9 baths — and sweeping views of the rest of New Jersey and the Manhattan skyline.

More From New Jersey 101.5 FM