TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–At 10:11 pm Trenton Police responded to the area of Oakland Street and Hoffman Avenue on a shots fired call. Upon arrival police found two people shot in the area of 166 Oakland Street. Trenton EMS, Capital Health Paramedics and Trenton Fire Department responded for the shooting victims. It was reported two people shot, with one person shot in the back and one person shot in back and legs. Both victims were rushed to the Trauma Center at Capital Health Regional Medical Center and two trauma alerts were called. EMS units arrived at the trauma center at 10:31 pm. with the shooting victims. Radio reports and a witness description from the scene indicated that one of the victims seems to be critical and another in stable condition. Update–The man that was reported critical by witnesses has died from his injures.
This is a breaking news story from radio and witness reports from the scene. Once official information becomes available the story will be updated and any corrections made. This story will be updated as we get information from on scene reporting and witnesses.
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–A jury In Minneapolis has convicted a former police officer of all charges of murder and manslaughter in the killing of George Floyd last year. As New Jersey reacts we will add to the statements posted so far below:
Statement from Governor Murphy on Today’s Guilty Verdict in the Trial of Derek Chauvin
George Floyd, like countless other Black Americans whose futures have been unjustly stolen from them, should be alive today. While today’s verdict provides some measure of justice and accountability for the Floyd family and millions of our fellow Americans, all of us must remember that systemic racism is still pervasive in American life. While we are glad that justice has prevailed in this case, George Floyd’s murder is a painful reminder that inequality has deep roots in American history, starting during slavery and continuing to the present day in areas such as wages, health care, housing, education, and treatment by law enforcement. This has been a trying moment in our nation’s history, but we must be resolute in our fight for justice to ensure that the pain of yesterday, and the pain of today, does not become the pain of tomorrow.
Senator Cory Booker
This verdict is justice served—but it is not justice for George Floyd. True justice would be a country where George Floyd would still be alive today. True justice demands action—it demands change & that we do everything we can to stop this from happening again & again & again.
Senator Bob Menendez:
Derek Chauvin put his knee on George Floyd’s neck for 9 minutes and 29 seconds with no regard for his life. Had he not, George Floyd would still be alive. Grateful that the jury gave George’s family the justice they deserve. My thoughts are with them today, because I know that no amount of relief that justice has been served can erase the pain of their loss. Now it’s on us to take action to prevent encounters that end with senseless violence. Step 1: Pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act and send it to President Joe Biden’s desk. Immediately.
Statement from Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal on Verdict in Derek Chauvin Trial
This was the right verdict. But as a career prosecutor, I know how even a successful trial verdict can leave the families of victims with a sense of emptiness. A conviction cannot undo the trauma; it can never bring back a lost loved one. We simply hope it can bring some closure to those most in pain.
A flawed system laid the groundwork for the death of George Floyd. It’s a system that too often fails to recruit police from the communities they guard, fails to train officers properly, fails to place just limits on the use of force against citizens, and fails to create mechanisms for the independent investigation of misconduct. It’s a system that badly needs reform—here and across the country.
While I am heartened to see some justice done for Mr. Floyd, it is not enough. We must seize this moment, when the nation’s focus has turned to how our communities are policed, to ensure something meaningful comes from a man’s unnecessary death, and to continue with urgency the reforms we have begun to policing practices in New Jersey.
To learn more about what we are doing in the Garden State, visit www.njoag.gov/policing. There’s much more work to be done.
Statement on Verdict in the Trial of Derek Chauvin from the County Prosecutors Association of New Jersey
“Today, the jury delivered justice not only for the family and loved ones of George Floyd, but for the millions of Americans of color who for decades have experienced a different reality of uneven treatment by law enforcement. What we witnessed in Minneapolis last May was not policing, but was murder and an absolute abdication of the values of protecting and serving. With this verdict, our country can begin the long and complex process of healing, which we know will also involve continued dialogue between communities and law enforcement, as well as ongoing police reform, increased transparency, and accountability. We thank the Jury for their service.”
Today, a jury in Minneapolis did the right thing.
For almost a year, George Floyd’s death under the knee of a police officer has reverberated around the world — inspiring murals and marches, sparking conversations in living rooms and new legislation. But a more basic question has always remained: would justice be done?
In this case, at least, we have our answer. But if we’re being honest with ourselves, we know that true justice is about much more than a single verdict in a single trial.
True justice requires that we come to terms with the fact that Black Americans are treated differently, every day. It requires us to recognize that millions of our friends, family, and fellow citizens live in fear that their next encounter with law enforcement could be their last. And it requires us to do the sometimes thankless, often difficult, but always necessary work of making the America we know more like the America we believe in.
While today’s verdict may have been a necessary step on the road to progress, it was far from a sufficient one. We cannot rest. We will need to follow through with the concrete reforms that will reduce and ultimately eliminate racial bias in our criminal justice system. We will need to redouble efforts to expand economic opportunity for those communities that have been too long marginalized.
And as we continue the fight, we can draw strength from the millions of people — especially young people — who have marched and protested and spoken up over the last year, shining a light on inequity and calling for change. Justice is closer today not simply because of this verdict, but because of their work.
Michelle and I send our prayers to the Floyd family, in the hopes that they may find peace. And we stand shoulder-to-shoulder with all those who are committed to guaranteeing every American the full measure of justice that George and so many others have been denied.
A Hudson County, New Jersey, man today admitted participating in a conspiracy to use drones to smuggle contraband, including cell phones and tobacco, into the federal correctional facility at Fort Dix, and to possessing heroin and fentanyl with the intent to distribute, Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig announced.
Jason Arteaga-Loayza, aka “Juice,” 30, of Jersey City, New Jersey, a former inmate at Fort Dix, pleaded guilty by videoconference before U.S. District Judge Susan D. Wigenton to one count of conspiracy to defraud the U.S. Bureau of Prisons and one count of possession of heroin and fentanyl with the intent to distribute. Arteaga-Loayza, who was on federal supervised release at the time of the offenses, also pleaded guilty to violating the terms of his supervised release.
Three other men, Adrian Goolcharran, aka “Adrian Ahoda,” aka “Adrian Ajoda,” aka “Adrian Ajodha;” Nicolo Denichilo; and Johansel Moronta also have been charged with participating in the scheme to use drones to smuggle contraband into Fort Dix prison.
According to the documents filed in this case:
Arteaga-Loayza, an inmate at Fort Dix from June 2017 to September 2018, participated in multiple drone deliveries of contraband into Fort Dix after his release from prison. Between October 2018 and June 2019, Arteaga-Loayza arranged for Goolcharran, with Denichilo’s assistance, to fly drones over Fort Dix and drop packages of contraband into the prison, where it was sold to inmates for a profit. The packages that Arteaga-Loayza smuggled in included cell phones, cell phone accessories, tobacco, weight loss supplements, eyeglasses, and various other items. Arteaga-Loayza, with Moronta’s assistance inside of the prison, took inmate requests for specific items of contraband and oversaw the collection of payments. Arteaga-Loayza also collected contraband for upcoming drone drops and stored it at his residence in Jersey City.
Arteaga-Loayza and his conspirators took various steps to prevent BOP officials from detecting and intercepting the contraband. They planned drone drops during the late evening hours or overnight when the drones were less likely to be seen. Goolcharran, the drone pilot, with Denichilo’s assistance, flew the drones from concealed positions in the woods surrounding the prison. The lights on the drones were covered with tape to make it more difficult for prison officials to spot the drones.
Arteaga-Loayza and his conspirators used cell phones, including contraband phones concealed within the prison, to coordinate the drone drops. A contraband cell phone used by Moronta, who was an inmate at Fort Dix, contained text messages with Arteaga-Loayza about the collection of profits from the sale of the contraband inside of the prison. In one exchange, Moronta messaged Arteaga-Loayza about an inmate, “Ok so I am tell him 10 phones and 100 baco [i.e. tobacco] he has to pay 10 bands and 500 on each phone?” Arteaga-Loayza responded, “And well even give him an ounce of weed tell him.” One of Arteaga-Loayza’s cell phones contained messages between him and Goolcharran coordinating drone drops. For example, in April 2019, Arteaga-Loayza sent Goolcharran marked-up aerial photos of Fort Dix to show Goolcharran where to drop the contraband. In another exchange, Arteaga-Loayza sent Goolcharran a message asking, “U think that u cud do something 2m.” Goolcharran replied, “2m too windy 20mph.”
During a search of Arteaga-Loayza’s residence on June 27, 2019, agents found a kitchen closet containing packages of empty cell phone boxes, including a package with empty cell phone boxes that had been shipped to Arteaga-Loayza the day before a drone drop on Oct. 30, 2018, cell phone chargers, empty boxes of SIM cards, and several cell phones. The kitchen closet also contained a Bugler tobacco box, consistent with the tobacco recovered in earlier drone drops. Arteaga-Loayza also had a suitcase in his bedroom that contained his driver’s license, 20 packets of Suboxone Sublingual Film, a prescription opiate, and a plastic bag containing over 21 grams of a substance containing heroin and fentanyl. Following the search of his home, Arteaga-Loayza moved and did not inform his probation officer of his whereabouts.
Arteaga-Loayza faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison and maximum fine of $250,000 for the conspiracy count, and 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine for the narcotics count. Arteaga-Loayza also faces a maximum penalty of two years in prison for violating the terms of his supervised release. Sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 9, 2021.
Acting U.S. Attorney Honig credited agents of the U.S. Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General, Cyber Investigations Office, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Keith A. Bonanno; Detachment 307, Office of Special Investigations, Department of the Air Force, under the direction of Special Agent Nick Kaplan; and the U.S. Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General, Northeast Region, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge Daniel Helzner, with the investigation leading to the charges.
She also thanked Federal Bureau of Prisons personnel at Fort Dix, under the direction of Warden Lamine N’Diaye; special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge George M. Crouch Jr. in Newark; special agents of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, under the direction of Supervisory Special Agent Thomas J. Mahoney; and officers with the Pemberton Borough Police Department, under the direction of Chief Edward Hunter; Pemberton Township Police Department, under the direction of Chief David King; and Chesterfield Township Police Department, under the direction of Chief Kyle Wilson, for their assistance.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Cari Fais and Jeffrey J. Manis of the Office’s Special Prosecutions Division in Newark.
The charges and allegations contained in the criminal complaints issued against the remaining defendants are merely accusations, and they are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
An Ocean County, New Jersey man today admitted operating an illegal lottery and failing to pay more than $65,000 in federal taxes on his earnings from the scheme, Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig announced.
Edward O’Neill, 54, of Beachwood, New Jersey, pleaded guilty by videoconference before U.S. District Judge Brian R. Martinotti to an information charging him with one count of managing an illegal gambling business and one count of subscribing to a false tax return.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
Between 2014 and 2019, O’Neill managed an illegal lottery in Hudson County that was based on the New Jersey Lottery Commission’s Pick Six. Participants in the illegal lottery paid a $20 entry fee and selected six numbers between 1 and 49. The first participant in the illegal lottery to have all six of their numbers selected in the official Pick Six drawing won a cash prize. For each drawing of the illegal lottery, O’Neill collected entry fees and participants’ numbers and entered the numbers into ledgers, which included identifying information for each participant and the numbers each participant had selected. O’Neill monitored the numbers selected in the official Pick Six and, when there was a winner of the illegal lottery, caused the winning participant to be paid in cash.
According to the ledgers, each drawing of the illegal lottery included up to 8,000 participants and the cash prize for each drawing often exceeded $100,000. In exchange for operating and managing the illegal lottery, O’Neill kept for himself 10 percent of the winnings from each drawing. O’Neill admitted that he failed to account for approximately $250,000 in cash winnings from the illegal lottery on tax returns he filed with the IRS between 2014 and 2018, causing him to underpay his federal incomes taxes by $65,674.
The gambling charge to which O’Neill pleaded guilty carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison, while the subscribing to a false federal income tax return count is punishable by up to three years in prison. Both charges carry a potential fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss from the offenses, whichever is greater. Sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 25, 2021.
Acting U.S. Attorney Honig credited special agents of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, under the direction of Supervisory Special Agent Thomas Mahoney; special agents of IRS-Criminal Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Michael Montanez; and special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge George M. Crouch Jr. in Newark, with the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sean Farrell of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Special Prosecutions Division.
Defense counsel: Jeffrey S. Chiesa Esq. and Brian P. O’Neill Esq., West Orange, New Jersey
The guidance reflects the priorities of a working group formed by Attorney General Grewal in July 2020 after an Asbury Park Press reporter was arrested while covering a protest related to the killing of George Floyd. Based on collaborative input from working group members—including law enforcement officers, journalists, civil rights groups, and prosecutors— the guidance is designed to recognize the rights, responsibilities, and roles of the press and police at protests, while recommending best practices to ensure safe press coverage of such First Amendment activity.
“I commend the working group for its thoughtful recommendations designed to encourage cooperation between law enforcement and the press to uphold First Amendment rights while preserving public safety,” said Attorney General Grewal. “Over the past year, millions of Americans have taken to the street in protest, and their voices have spurred a national reckoning on issues of race and justice. Throughout these protests, police officers have worked to guard public safety—joining at times in emotional acts of solidarity with peaceful protesters—and the press has performed its vital function of enabling the message of protesters to reach all Americans. We hope this guidance will help us keep this public dialogue robust as well as safe.”
The guidance recognizes that journalists have a First Amendment right to report on protests without interference from law enforcement, including a right to record police performing their duties. The guidance notes that while journalists cannot engage in illegal conduct simply because they are reporting on a protest, they often are exempted from curfews imposed during times of unrest. The guidance also emphasizes that police should use restraint in enforcing technical violations, such as obstructing a sidewalk, during First Amendment activity by journalists or protesters.
The guidance directs that law enforcement should never seize a press member’s camera, cell phone, notes, or other journalistic work product or documentary material, except in the exceedingly rare case where it is necessary for public safety or the result of a search incident to a lawful arrest. In addition, it states that officers must never delete such material, and should search these items only after obtaining approval from the County Prosecutor or the Attorney General.
The guidance outlines a number of best practices aimed at avoiding conflicts and facilitating cooperation between the press and law enforcement. Among other things, the guidance:
Recommends pre-event coordination between law enforcement and the press;
Calls for police departments to designate a press liaison whom members of the press can contact with issues;
Urges press to wear clearly visible—ideally reflective—credentials and/or vests during protests; and
Directs police to conduct refresher training on the rights of the press and the role of law enforcement prior to protest events for officers who will be on duty.
The guidance is posted at: AG Guidance – Press and Police Interactions During Police Protests.
Attorney General Grewal thanked all of the members of the working group, including members of the following organizations:
American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey
County Prosecutors’ Association of New Jersey
New Jersey Broadcasters Association
New Jersey Press Association
New Jersey Society of Professional Journalists
New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police
New Jersey State Police
New Jersey State Policemen’s Benevolent Association
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Furthering his commitment to address college affordability for students, Governor Phil Murphy today held a roundtable discussion with college students, elected officials, and university presidents to highlight the $50 million investment in the Fiscal Year 2022 (FY2022) budget proposal toward the Garden State Guarantee initiative (GSG).
“Since day one, we’ve taken meaningful steps toward addressing college affordability and attainability for students at all income levels,” said Governor Murphy. “With the Garden State Guarantee initiative, we’re making another critical investment to ensure that every student has access to an affordable, high-quality postsecondary education, which in return will create a highly skilled workforce and a stronger, fairer, and more resilient economy.”
“The Garden State Guarantee is our commitment to ensuring New Jerseyans are well-positioned for success, particularly students of color, low-income families, and those from disadvantaged backgrounds who have traditionally not been afforded equal access to higher education,” said Dr. Brian Bridges, Secretary of Higher Education. “We owe it to our students to provide free college benefits that will improve their social mobility and our state’s overall financial health as we build long-term economic resiliency.”
The historic investment in the GSG initiative builds upon the success of the Community College Opportunity Grant (CCOG), by ensuring that eligible students can receive a tuition-free education for their first two years at any public college or university in New Jersey. Under the GSG initiative, students with an annual gross income of $65,000 or less will have the opportunity to receive tuition- and fee-free education for two years of study at one of New Jersey’s four-year public institutions. The FY2022 budget proposal allocates $45 million for the GSG initiative, which will increase direct aid to all 13 state colleges and universities through the Outcomes-Based Allocation and another $5 million will be available if additional funding is necessary for program implementation. Public institutions implementing GSG will also support eligible students by developing a sliding scale pricing structure for students above $65,000 annual gross income and create a guaranteed pricing structure for all students throughout their academic program. This initiative will be available for students starting in fall 2022. Currently, similar initiatives are offered at four of our 13 public four-year institutions: Rutgers-Camden, Rutgers-Newark, William Paterson University, and New Jersey City University. Three other public institutions, Stockton University, Rowan University, and Kean University, recently announced similar programs that will begin in the fall of 2021.
“One of the things that we can say about New Jersey proudly now is that it is becoming the education state of this country,” said Senator Sandra Cunningham, Chair of the Senate Higher Education Committee. “We are really showing the world that we are committed to an education for our residents and providing the best way to do that so that all of our people who want to get a four-year degree, they can easily do that.”
“As a lead sponsor of the Community College Opportunity Grant program that is now law, I am excited and proud to promote the Garden State Guarantee,” said Assemblywoman Mila Jasey, Chair of the Assembly Higher Education Committee. “We need to work to make a seamless program so that money is well spent, not repeated or squandered and so that it goes as far as possible to make sure everyone in our state who wants an education can graduate without ten years of debt. Our people in our state are our treasure. There is no better investment than education and training.”
“The Garden State Guarantee sharply reflects key recommendations made by the Governor’s working group on college affordability, which I had the honor of co-chairing with Rowan University President Ali Houshmand,” said Nancy Cantor, Chancellor of Rutgers – Newark. “Our group of higher education leaders from across the state felt strongly that to close the equity and opportunity gaps facing students from low-income households and from groups underrepresented in our colleges and universities, it is essential for New Jersey to establish affordable and predictable pricing guarantees, making the net cost of college more transparent for students and families. I can tell you first-hand that we have seen these strategies work at Rutgers-Newark with our RU-N to the TOP program, which has helped pave pathways to us from Newark schools and from the state’s county colleges. These are proven strategies for attracting and retaining New Jersey students in a post-COVID world.”
“Montclair State University applauds the Governor’s bold focus on public higher education affordability, an investment that is absolutely critical to the economic and social well-being of the State,” said Susan Cole, President of Montclair State University.
“It is in that spirit that NJCU proudly endorses the educational policy outlined in Governor Murphy’s proposed Garden State Guarantee and look forward to working with the Legislature, OSHE and our peers to see this completed,” said Sue Henderson, President of the New Jersey City University. “This is a historic investment which will afford undergraduate students with adjusted gross incomes of $65,000 or less the opportunity to attend our State’s four-year public institutions tuition-free for two years. The GSG builds upon our successful multi-year investment at NJCU demonstrated through our Debt-Free Promise Program.”
A significant economic development milestone for the city, the redevelopment of this historic site by Hx2 Development will begin this Spring and features historic architecture and state-of-the-art finishes by Trenton Architecture and Planning firm Clarke Caton Hintz
April 20, 2021
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–In Trenton’s Wirerope District, the historic Roebling Carpentry Shop will be transformed into three floors of unique, state-of-the-art office space while maintaining the character and features of the original brick and heavy timber building. Princeton Hydro and Hx2 Development are pleased to announce the signing of a lease, where the firm will relocate its headquarters from Ringoes, NJ to Trenton, NJ and occupy approximately 9,000 sf of this building (Building 110). Construction on this unique project has kicked-off, with move-in slated for January 2022. This move by Princeton Hydro will result in the relocation of 30+ jobs to Trenton. It will bring to life a building that has been vacant for more than 25 years and adapting its use from industrial to transit-oriented, modern office space.
The new tenant, Princeton Hydro, is a water resources engineering and natural resources management small business committed to changing our ecosystems, quality of life, and communities for the better. The firm was formed in 1998 with the specific mission of providing integrated ecological and engineering consulting services and offers expertise in natural resource management, water resources engineering, geotechnical design & investigation, and regulatory compliance throughout the Northeast.
“From restoring ecosystems and improving the water quality to providing sound geotechnical engineering and designing for resiliency, we are passionate about our mission and the services we provide. With so much character and opportunity, our new space will enable us to increase our regional reach and partner with more clients that share our values,” said Geoffrey Goll, President of Princeton Hydro. “After looking at many properties, we fell in love with this space. It is the perfect mix of character, history, and location, and it fulfills our desire to be a part of the revitalization of the City of Trenton. We’re excited to meet our new neighbors and look forward to getting involved with the local community.”
The project, being constructed by Trenton-based Hx2 Development and designed by Trenton-based Architecture and Planning firm, Clarke Caton Hintz, has received enormous support and encouragement from the City of Trenton and Greater Trenton, the local organization dedicated to advancing revitalization efforts in the City.
“We’re very excited Princeton Hydro has picked the Capital City as its new home and look forward to seeing this historic site reclaim its status as a bustling center of commerce and ingenuity,” said Mayor W. Reed Gusciora. “We hope this is one of many new businesses looking to take advantage of Trenton’s unique combination of historic architecture, transportation routes, cultural amenities, and proximity to government agencies.”
The completion of Building 110 represents the next step in the exciting redevelopment of Roebling Center, which includes five historic industrial buildings on Block 3 of the John A. Roebling’s Sons Company. Phase 1, completed in 2018, included the opening of Roebling Lofts, a unique 138-unit loft apartment building located in Building 101 of the Roebling Complex.
“It’s great to work with a client like Princeton Hydro, with their strong commitment to sustainability, collaborative and innovative workspaces, and new technologies. Their new offices are going to be extraordinary!” said John Hatch, Principal of Clarke Caton Hintz.
Managing principal of Hx2 Development, David Henderson, described the significance of Princeton Hydro’s move, “We are very excited to welcome this regionally prominent consulting firm to Roebling Center and to Trenton! In Building 110, we are providing this unique firm with unique space that has extraordinary historic character, including heavy timber structure, huge windows, skylights, and wonderful brickwork as well as state of the art building systems and exciting finishes.”
“We are proud to welcome this terrific firm to the City of Trenton and are especially pleased that they moved here because of our wonderful transportation network, our convenient location, and our extraordinary history and architecture!” said George Sowa, CEO of Greater Trenton. He added, “This move represents a wonderful partnership between a professional firm with big ideas and commitments, the hard work of City staff, and Greater Trenton’s assistance with marketing and logistics. This is a win-win for all involved and we are excited to welcome Princeton Hydro to Trenton!”
ROBBINSVILLE TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–The Robbinsville Township Police and the Robbinsville Fire Department were dispatched to the area of 44 Tindall Road for an accident with wires down at 12:29 am. Upon arrival of police and fire units there were no reported injures. Police reported wires and a pole down and the road will be closed until repairs are made. A tow company will be on scene removing the vehicle involved but the road will be closed until the wires are out of the roadway. Roadway is closed between Wildflower Trail and Regan Lane.