Day: September 24, 2020

Arrests Made In High School Damage, Stolen Lawn Items In South Brunswick

See related MidJersey.News stories here: Police Look For Help In Finding Truck That Damaged SBHS

South Brunswick Police Seek Investigating Odd Crime Of Stealing Flowers From Front Lawns

September 24, 2020

SOUTH BRUNSWICK, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–Chief Raymond J. Hayducka of the South Brunswick Police Department announced today that arrests had been made in two recent cases of criminal mischief and thefts around the Township. “The damage to the high school may be over $10,000 and the thefts of items right off homeowners’ front lawns left many feeling uneasy. These cases impacted our community and with help from the community and good police work, arrests were made,” said Chief Hayducka. 

  • Police Arrest Driver in Damage to South Brunswick High School

            On Wednesday, September 23rd, South Brunswick Police sought the assistance of the public and our surrounding law enforcement agencies in identifying the individual who drove his truck on the sports fields at South Brunswick High School, causing thousands of dollars’ worth of damage. Several residents along with surrounding law enforcement agencies provided tips on the identity of the suspect responsible for the damage. On Thursday, September 24th, in collaboration with surrounding police agencies, a lead was developed. A suspect was identified and the pickup truck was located at a North Brunswick location. Detectives took David E. French age 20 of North Brunswick into custody. 

The investigation determined that French had no connection to the high school and was going off roading with his truck when he drove across the fields. French was charged with Criminal Mischief, a 3rd degree crime due to the amount of damage done to the fields. He was processed and released on a summons with a court date scheduled.

  • Overnight Landscaping Thieves Apprehended

            South Brunswick Police announced that they have brought to an end the overnight landscaping thefts that had targeted the Kendall Park neighborhoods for the past three weeks.  At least eight township residents called police to report that during evening or overnight hours, thieves entered their yards and stole solar landscaping lights, potted flowers, a bird feeder, and lawn decorations.

            As these incidents unfolded, several victims took to social media to warn others about the thieves, which, in turn, prompted additional victims to come forward. As police began to investigate these thefts, video of the actors was obtained from multiple sources, including numerous video doorbells. A description of the actors, a white male and a white female driving a white Ford Explorer Sport Track Pickup, was developed, and suspects identified.

            South Brunswick Detective Brady Shelcusky realized the vehicle described one he had seen on a previous case. He went to the suspect’s address in Franklin Township and observed several items that had been stolen from South Brunswick lawns adorning the suspect’s front lawn. Detective Shelcusky linked the homes occupants -Danielle Viszneki,  age 35 years and her fiancé James Baker age 51, to all of the thefts. The investigation uncovered that the two would drive around different neighborhoods and steal lighting, flowers, and other landscaping to spruce up their own front lawns. Detective Shelcusky collected all the stolen items and returned them to different homeowners.

Both actors were charged with Theft of Movable Property, a 4th degree offense. They were processed and released on summonses.

Protest Against A4576 And S2907 Requiring Mandatory Flu Vaccinations Held At Statehouse

Assembly 4576 and

September 24, 2020

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Over 1,000 attended a rally today at the NJ State House to protest against New Jersey Assembly Bill A4576 and matching NJ Senate S2907 Requires students and certain other children to be annually vaccinated for influenza as condition of enrollment at public and private K-12 schools, preschools, child care centers, and institutions of higher education.

Assembly 4576 Statement below, read entire A4576 bill here

Read identical NJ Senate Bill S2907 here

  This bill requires students who attend a public or private K-12 school, preschool, child care center, or institution of higher education to be annually vaccinated for influenza as a condition of enrollment and continued attendance at the school or center. 

     Commencing with the 2020-2021 school year:

     1)    a principal, director, or other person in charge of a public or private school in this State will be prohibited from knowingly admitting or retaining in grades K through 12 a child whose parent or guardian has not submitted acceptable evidence, by December 31 of the relevant school year, showing that the child has received an annual vaccination for influenza;

     2)    an executive director, administrator, or other person in charge of a preschool or child care center will be prohibited from knowingly admitting or retaining in the preschool or child care center a child whose parent or guardian has not submitted acceptable evidence, by December 31 of the relevant school year, showing that the child has received an annual vaccination for influenza; and

     3)    an administrator or other person in charge of an institution of higher education in this State will be prohibited from knowingly admitting or retaining a student who has not submitted acceptable evidence, by December 31 of the relevant school year, showing that the student has received an annual vaccination for influenza.

     Consistent with existing laws pertaining to the mandatory vaccination of children and students, the bill would provide that a child or student will be exempt from the bill’s vaccination requirements if:

     1)    a written statement is submitted to the K-12 school, preschool, child care center, or institution of higher education by a licensed physician indicating that the vaccine is medically contraindicated for a specific period of time and the reasons for the medical contraindication, which are to be valid medical reasons as determined by regulation of the commissioner.  Such statement will exempt the child or student from the vaccination for the period of time stated therein; or

     2)    a written statement is submitted to the K-12 school, preschool, or child care center by the child’s or student’s parent or guardian, if the child or student is a minor, or by the student, if the student is 18 years of age or older, explaining how the administration of the vaccine conflicts with the bona fide religious tenets or practices of the child or student, or of the parent or guardian, as the case may be, except that a general philosophical or moral objection to the vaccination will not be sufficient for an exemption to be granted on religious grounds. 

     Children attending public or private K-12 schools, child care centers, and preschools in New Jersey are already required by existing law to be vaccinated for various contagious and dangerous diseases, including diphtheria, hepatitis B, measles, meningitis, mumps, pertussis, pneumococcal disease, polio, rubella, tetanus, and varicella, as a condition of attendance at the institution.  Students of higher education are further required to verify their receipt of these vaccinations as a condition of their attendance at an institute of higher education.  Although children in New Jersey who are between six and 59 months of age and who are attending a child-care center or preschool facility are additionally required by the State Sanitary Code to receive an annual vaccination for influenza, this requirement is not codified in the statutory law.

     In March 2020, Governor Murphy issued Executive Order No. 103, which declared a public health emergency and state of emergency in New Jersey in response to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).  COVID-19 is a newly discovered and highly contagious pandemic-level disease that has spread quickly throughout the world, nation, and State, and against which humans have no natural immunity.  It is associated with a wide range of symptoms, including, but not limited to, fever, cough, difficulty breathing, chills, sudden loss of smell or taste, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, many of which overlap with the symptoms of seasonal influenza.  It is also possible for a person to become simultaneously infected with both COVID-19 and influenza, which may not only cause the person to experience more severe symptoms, but may also cause problems both for health care providers, in relation to their ability to provide the patient with an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment, and for administrators of schools, preschools, and child care centers, in relation to their ability to identify and appropriately respond to outbreaks occurring at those institutions.

     The vaccination of children and students for influenza will significantly reduce the number of children and students in the State who experience severe flu symptoms or a severe combination of flu and COVID-19 symptoms, will help reduce competition among flu and COVID-19 patients for similar medical resources, and will result in fewer emergency department visits and hospitalizations related to influenza, thereby enabling the State to preserve its hospital capacity and emergency and intensive care resources for patients who are infected with COVID-19 or other severe diseases and ailments.

     Preschools, child care centers, and K-12 schools, where children come into close contact with and freely mingle with each other and adult faculty and staff members, and institutions of higher education, where students often live in communal settings and come into close contact with thousands of other students, faculty, and other staff in dormitories, lecture halls, sports arenas, and other large, on-campus venues, are the types of institutions that may facilitate the quick and uncontrollable spread of COVID-19; however, because these institutions operate during flu season, it may be difficult for these institutions and for health care officials to quickly determine, for the purposes of implementing preventative and responsive measures, whether an outbreak of illness at the institution is occurring as a result of the spread of COVID-19 or influenza.  By requiring the vaccination of children and students for influenza, the State can make it easier for these institutions to identify which children or students, if any, are showing signs of COVID-19 infection.

     Because of the severe, unprecedented, and unpredictable nature of COVID-19, the fact that there is currently no vaccine or preventative treatment for COVID-19, the commonalities that exist between COVID-19 and influenza, the fact that a person may simultaneously be infected with both diseases, the fact that patients with influenza will compete with COVID-19 patients and other severely ill patients for hospital space and resources, and the unique characteristics of public and private K-12 schools, preschools, child care centers, and institutions of higher education, it is both reasonable and necessary for the Legislature to require children and students at these institutions to be annually vaccinated for influenza, as a condition of their continued enrollment and attendance at the institution, in each year going forward. 

Black Lives Matter Mural Painted On West State Street Trenton

September 24, 2020

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–A Black Lives Matter mural has been painted in front of the African American Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey, 379 West State Street yesterday an event was held at 4 pm with members of the AACCNJ, Governor Phil Murphy, Reverend Al Sharpton, and more. See press release below for complete information.

The African American Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey (AACCNJ) in conjunction with the State of New Jersey and the National Action Network will construct a “Black Lives Matter” mural, on Wednesday, September 23rd, at the headquarters of the AACCNJ, located at 379 West State Street, Trenton, NJ.

The live painting will commence at 10:00 a.m. and continue throughout the day, culminating in an official ceremony, scheduled for 4:00 p.m. on the front dais of the AACCNJ headquarters. The ceremony will include remarks from John E. Harmon, Sr., IOM, Founder, President & CEO, AACCNJ, The Honorable, Phil Murphy, Governor, State of NJ, The Honorable Reed Gusciora , Mayor City of Trenton, Reverend Al Sharpton, Founder, National Action Network, Rev. Dr. Steffie Bartley, Sr., Northeast Regional Director of National Action Network, and Rabbi Abe Friedman, Senior Rabbi of Temple Beth Zion-Beth Israel (BZBI) in Philadelphia, PA, among others.

“We believe that simulating the Black Lives Matter murals that are happening nationwide demonstrates the support of the AACCNJ with the merits and messaging of the nationwide movement, and will provide a platform for local and state government to show their endorsement of this message – with their presence at this event.”, said John E. Harmon, Sr., IOM.

Attorney General Grewal Announces Results of New Survey Showing 239 Of New Jersey’s Law Enforcement Agencies Now Use Body-Worn Cameras

Attorney General advocates for additional police departments to deploy body-worn cameras as a tool to promote accountability, assist police, and build police-community trust

September 24, 2020

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal today announced the results of a statewide survey of New Jersey’s law enforcement agencies that revealed that 239 of the 537 agencies surveyed now equip some or all of their officers with body-worn cameras.

The survey conducted by the Attorney General’s Office includes state, county, and local law enforcement agencies, as well as college campus police, a school district police department, and bridge police.  It does not include federal agencies.  The 239 agencies with body-worn cameras have a total of 12,195 cameras.  The survey represents a snapshot of body-worn cameras owned as of Sept. 23, 2020.  It does not include cameras that are in the process of being acquired by law enforcement agencies.

The New Jersey State Police recently completed the process of outfitting all State Troopers on road patrol with body-worn cameras.  Of the four State Police patrol units, Troop A, Troop B, and Troop C were fully outfitted with body-worn cameras by the start of July 2020.  Troop D was fully outfitted with body-worn cameras by the end of August.

The survey indicates that the number of law enforcement agencies with body-worn cameras is approaching half of the agencies in the state— specifically, approximately 45 percent of the total number of agencies. 

To see the full survey results click here.

Attorney General Grewal supports the use of body-worn cameras, but cannot mandate their statewide use unless the Legislature appropriates sufficient, reliable funding to help local police departments purchase and maintain these systems.  Police departments are welcome—and encouraged—to purchase their own body-worn camera systems if they are in a position to do so, in order to promote accountability and strengthen police-community relations.

A 2017 survey of police officers using body-worn cameras in New Jersey indicated that most were highly satisfied with the devices and viewed them as effective tools for promoting public trust, protecting officers, and gathering evidence.

“I applaud the many police departments that have embraced body-worn cameras as a critical tool for enhancing police-community relations, and I urge more to follow suit,” said Attorney General Grewal.  “The need for accountability and transparency has never been greater, as we strive to build stronger trust between police officers and the communities they serve.  Body cameras not only enhance accountability in policing, they protect the vast majority of officers who do the right thing day-in and day-out, reducing unfounded complaints.  As an objective witness to law enforcement actions, they bolster public confidence and can even help de-escalate volatile situations.”

In 2015, New Jersey implemented the following statewide policy governing the use of body-worn cameras by police departments that elect to deploy them:

Since then, Attorney General Grewal has advocated for greater transparency with respect to video footage of police use-of-force incidents.  Shortly after taking office in 2018, he issued AG Directive 2018-1, which established a policy that body- and dash-camera videos of police deadly force incidents are subject to public release, following a formal request, once the initial investigation of the incident is substantially complete, typically within 20 days of the incident.

Attorney General Grewal enhanced that policy in December 2019, as part of his Excellence in Policing Initiative by issuing the Independent Prosecutor Directive (AG Directive 2019-4,), which lays out a comprehensive process for the independent investigation of police use-of-force and death-in-custody incidents.  New disclosure rules in that directive include release of any third-party footage captured by surveillance cameras or a civilian’s smartphone and later obtained by law enforcement during the investigation.

Working with law enforcement statewide and community stakeholders, Attorney General Grewal has implemented some of the most ambitious and progressive policing reforms in the country:

  • Mandating implicit bias training for all prosecutors, state and county detectives, and state troopers. 
  • Creating a statewide Conviction Review Unit. 
  • Launching a first-in-the-nation statewide officer resiliency program. 
  • Banning chokeholds except in the most limited circumstances. 
  • Holding regular community listening sessions in all 21 counties in New Jersey. 
  • Overhauling the state’s police training programs. 
  • Building a statewide use-of-force database.

Attorney General Grewal is also undertaking a substantial rewrite of the state’s use of force policy – the first rewrite of the policy in 20 years – incorporating feedback from public listening sessions held earlier this summer. The revised policy is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

More information on the Excellence in Policing Initiative is found at this link: