Livingston Township Investigates Unannounced SWAT Team Exercise; Charges Filed Against Township Manager
Thursday, May 9, 2013 • 12:40pm
LIVINGSTON, NJ - Two complaints were filed last month with the Livingston Police Department against Township Manager Michelle Meade regarding an incident that occurred on April 19.
The first complaint was filed on April 22 by private citizen Kelly L. Mollineaux, for N.J.S.A 2C:12-1A1, a simple assault charge, and the other was filed on May 2 by Livingston Police Sergeant Kenneth Hanna for N.J.S.A 2C:33-2B, a disorderly conduct charge.
In her complaint, Mollineaux alleged that Meade “did attempt to cause (or purposely knowingly caused) bodily injury” to her.
Hanna’s complaint alleged that Meade “did commit the offense of disorderly conduct by an actor in a public place with purpose to offend the hearer.”
The matter was scheduled to be heard in the Livingston Municipal Court at 9 a.m. today (May 9) but was transfered to be heard in West Caldwell Municipal Court in June.
Neither Hanna nor anyone else from the Livingston Police Department returned calls from TheAlternativePress.com seeking comment regarding these incidents.
Mayor Rudy Fernandez, when contacted, sent a press release addressing a police training incident that occurred on the date in question.
According to the press release, on April 19, a township staff member contacted the Livingston Police Department to report that a camouflaged man was seen in the center parking lot of a local Senior Community Center possessing a weapon and a weapon bag. Eight Livingston Police officers and detectives were dispatched to the scene. Upon arrival, the police officers confirmed that the suspect was a member of the Livingston Police Department, specifically its SWAT team, thus avoiding the need to respond with drawn weapons.
“The initial investigation reveals that the conduct provoking the dispatch of Livingston Police was, in fact, a training program that was unannounced to all relevant authorities, and that it was the responsibility of the commander of the Livingston ESU Unit, Sergeant Kenneth Hanna, to make the notifications,” the release said. “The incident was particularly disturbing given that it occurred on the same day that the city of Boston was on lock down in search of the marathon bombing suspects.”
The release went on to say that the Town Council “moved swiftly to initiate an independent investigation of the incident at a meeting on April 22.”
It stated that under N.J.S.A 40A:14-118, the council engaged the services of attorney John Quirk, Esq., of the law firm of Archer & Greiner “to investigate and assemble all relevant facts related to this matter and present his report to the council, so that they can decide what steps are appropriate to address the serious issues raised by the incident.”
The press release did not mention the charges brought against Meade, but did state that, “To the extent persons employed by this community and others are revealed as having breached their duties and responsibilities the Township Council intends to take appropriate and lawful action.”