Day: February 3, 2022

Petition About Trenton Fire Department Patch Circulating Online Reaches 1,227 Signatures

Update as of Feburary 6, 2022, 1,227 have signed the petition.

February 3, 2022

You can view the petition here: Not to Change Trenton Fire Dept Patches

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–A petition about Trenton Fire Department’s new patch has been posted at has been circulating online and as of 10:00 p.m. gathered 799 signatures.

The petition reads:

We are urging the administration to reconsider changing our Fire Department patch and uniform colors. The iron fireman stands for the sacrifice we as Trenton firefighters’ are willing to make and stands tribute to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice. We as the members of this department understand the risk and sacrifice we make on a continuous basis missing nights, weekends and holidays with our family. If there were to be a change to our patch and uniform it should be based on a majority vote of all members. From there every member who wishes to take part in the development of a new patch should have the opportunity. Without allowing the members to take part in this change is detrimental to the mission and morale of the Trenton Fire Department. The members of this Department are the ones wearing the patch and uniform every shift and our input should be a part of this decision.

The Iron Fireman statue stands tall outside city hall, wearing the department’s 19th century uniform and holding a baby in his left arm. Below him, the base of the statue lists the names of men who died between 1883 and 2009. After Woods and fellow firefighter Robert Mizopalko died in August 1986 battling a three-alarm blaze at the city bar Shenanigans Saloon, their names were added to the base of the city’s Iron Fireman statue, which was built in 1892 and stood outside city hall since 1910. Our great Mayor Reed Gusciora added, “This Iron Fireman is important because it memorializes those men and women who gave their lives, and all those who keep our homes a little bit safer at night.” Please I ask to just listen to us firefighters who make the ultimate sacrifice everyday to not change our patch at-least hear us out and give us a option. This to us is a big decision. Please do what’s right and help me and my brothers and sisters on this department spread by sharing this and sign our petition just to show who stands behind us on this decision, help us keep our history in our great City of Trenton.

20-Year-Old Chesterfield Man Charged with Causing Death of Cyclist He Struck at High Rate of Speed

New Jersey State Police Fatal Accident Reconstruction Unit determined that Weatherwalks was traveling at a speed of 75 MPH as he approached the cyclists in his Chevrolet Silverado. 

February 3, 2022

CHESTERFIELD, NJ (BURLINGTON)–Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina and Chesterfield Township Police Chief Michael Davison announced that a 20-year-old Chesterfield man was charged with causing the death of a cyclist he struck with his pickup truck while traveling at a high rate of speed in the 100 block of Sykesville Road late last year.

Dylan Weatherwalks, of the 700 block of Monmouth Road, was charged with Vehicular Homicide (Second Degree). He surrendered this morning and was lodged in the Burlington County Jail in Mount Holly pending a first appearance in Superior Court. The case will now be prepared for presentation to a grand jury for possible indictment.

The investigation began after officers from the Chesterfield Township Police Department were dispatched to the scene of the collision on December 4 at approximately 12:15 p.m.

The investigation revealed that the defendant came upon a group of cyclists while traveling southbound along Sykesville Road, a two-lane roadway with no shoulders. Weatherwalks veered into the northbound lane to pass the cyclists on a hill with an obstructed view of oncoming traffic.

The investigation further revealed that as Weatherwalks crested the hill, he encountered a vehicle traveling toward him and veered back into the southbound lane, over-correcting and striking cyclist Julie Galezniak, 62, of Stratford. Galezniak was thrown from her bike and sustained severe injuries, including a fractured skull. She was airlifted to a Trenton hospital and died later that afternoon.

An analysis performed by the New Jersey State Police Fatal Accident Reconstruction Unit determined that Weatherwalks was traveling at a speed of 75 MPH as he approached the cyclists in his Chevrolet Silverado. The speed limit along that stretch of Sykesville Road is posted as 50 MPH.

In addition to the criminal charges, Weatherwalks was issued traffic summonses for speeding, reckless driving, careless driving, and improper passing.

The investigation was conducted by the Chesterfield Township Police Department, the Prosecutor’s Office and the New Jersey State Police. Weatherwalks will be prosecuted by Assistant Prosecutor Julian Harris.

All persons are considered innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.

2022-16 Criminal Charges Filed in Death of Chesterfield Cyclist

Previous MidJersey.News story here:

Trenton Drug Dealer Pleads Guilty to Causing Death of Pemberton Township Man Who Fatally Overdosed on Fentanyl

February 3, 2022

Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina announced that a Trenton drug dealer pled guilty in Superior Court to causing the death of a Pemberton Township man who fatally overdosed on fentanyl he sold him during the summer of 2020.

Under an agreement with the Prosecutor’s Office, Marvin Montoya, 35, pled guilty to Strict Liability for Drug-Induced Death (First Degree), in exchange for a 12-year sentence.

The plea was entered January 31 in Superior Court in Mount Holly before the Hon. Gerard H. Breland, J.S.C., who scheduled sentencing for March 11.

The investigation began after the decedent, 23-year-old Michael Williams, was discovered by a relative in their Browns Mills home the morning of August 11, 2020, after he failed to get up for work. The investigation revealed that Williams had previously traveled to Trenton and purchased the drugs from Montoya in the city’s North Ward.

An autopsy performed by Burlington County Medical Examiner Dr. Ian Hood determined that Williams died of fentanyl toxicity.

Montoya is being prosecuted by Assistant Prosecutor Laura Heisman.

The investigation was conducted by the Pemberton Township Police Department, with assistance from the BCPO High-Tech Crimes Unit. The lead investigator was Pemberton Township Lt. Jay Watters, who has since been promoted to chief.

2022-17 Drug-Induced Death Guilty Plea

Burglary Arrest in Hamilton Township

February 3, 2022

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)—On February 2, 2022, Hamilton Police were dispatched to a burglary in progress call to a residence in the area of Harrison Ave. and Lafayette Ave. The caller described the suspects as two males, one in light clothing and one in dark clothing, both wearing masks and carrying backpacks. As Hamilton Police Officers J. Hamann,T. Oakley, T. Zappley, M. Quinn and J. Walker converged on the area, they came across Harold D. Claytor Jr. in the immediate area of the burglary. As Officers were speaking to Claytor Jr., he fled the scene as Hamilton Police Officers pursued him. Claytor Jr. was apprehended after a brief foot pursuit and charged with Burglary, Theft and Resisting Arrest. The second suspect was able to flee the area. Hamilton Police recovered both backpacks the suspects had possessed which contained several items that were suspected proceeds from victims. Anyone who has any information on Claytor Jr. or can assist the Hamilton Police Division with this investigation may contact Detective T. Clugsten at (609) 581-4107 or email:

NOTE: All suspects are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

Governor Murphy Nominates Matt Platkin as Attorney General

February 3, 2022

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)– Governor Phil Murphy today nominated Matt Platkin to be the Attorney General of New Jersey. Platkin served as Chief Counsel to the Governor from January 2018 to October 2020. His nomination will now go to the Senate for confirmation. Platkin will assume the role of Acting Attorney General on Monday, February 14, 2022.

“It is my honor and pleasure to nominate Matt Platkin to serve as the 62nd Attorney General of the State of New Jersey,” said Governor Murphy. “As I look toward the upcoming four years and the challenges that lay ahead, I know that as Attorney General, Matt will stand up for our New Jersey values and keep the office, and our state, moving forward. Matt will continue the strong record of the Attorney General’s Office’s during my first term and I look forward to working with him in this new role.”

“I am honored and humbled to serve as New Jersey’s next Attorney General,” said Matt Platkin, incoming Attorney General. “I commit to work tirelessly, alongside the 7,700 outstanding public servants who make up the Department of Law and Public Safety, to protect and defend the rights of all nine million people who call our state home. I thank Governor Murphy for the trust and confidence he has placed in me, and I am excited to get to work.”

Platkin was born and raised in New Jersey, growing up in both Florham Park and Morristown, and graduated from Madison High School. He received his Bachelor of Arts from Stanford University, and his Juris Doctor from Stanford Law School, where he was an editor of the Stanford Law Review. Platkin began his policy career at the Brookings Institution in Washington D.C., advising members of Congress on job growth and economic recovery following the 2008 financial crisis. Following graduation from law school, Platkin practiced law at Debevoise & Plimpton in New York City. From May 2016 to November 2017, Platkin served as Policy Director for Murphy for Governor.

In January 2018, Platkin was named Chief Counsel to the Governor. As Chief Counsel, Platkin oversaw an office of over 20 attorneys that advised the Governor on all legal matters, including legislation, executive orders, and administrative regulations. Platkin also was responsible for coordinating with the Attorney General’s Office on civil matters, including affirmative litigations, and oversaw judicial and prosecutorial nominations.

As Chief Counsel, Platkin spearheaded a number of policy initiatives, including gun safety and the expansion of voting rights, and played a critical role in the negotiations of three approximately $40 billion annual state budgets. Additionally, Platkin played a critical role in guiding New Jersey through the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, overseeing the drafting of pandemic-related executive orders and workforce policy reforms for state government employees to maintain government services. He also contributed to the State’s successful defense of pandemic-related actions in dozens of litigations in state and federal court.

Platkin served as Special Counsel to U.S. Senator Cory Booker during the first impeachment trial of President Donald J. Trump. He is currently a partner at Lowenstein Sandler in the White Collar Criminal Defense and Business Litigation practice groups. He is admitted to the bar in New Jersey and New York. 

Platkin resides in Montclair with his wife Sophia and their son, Robert.

Governor Murphy Announces Matt Platkin to Serve as New Jersey Attorney General February 3, 2022
Remarks as Prepared for Delivery:

Good morning. 

One of the most important responsibilities of any Governor is choosing an individual to serve as New Jersey’s Attorney General. 

To be sure, the Attorney General is not the Governor’s Lawyer but the People’s Lawyer — an attorney entrusted to represent all New Jerseyans, our values, and our laws. 

During my first term, we were fortunate to be served in this capacity by Attorneys General Gurbir Grewal and Andrew Bruck.  

They stood firm for our values – particularly when the former federal administration sought to undermine them. 

They worked to get illegal guns off our streets and defended our groundbreaking gun-safety laws in court. They launched new policing practices to improve the relationships between law enforcement and the residents they serve. They took action to protect our immigrant communities. They took on polluters. They stood up for consumers. And so much more. 

I thank them both. They each have set tremendous legacies within the Office of the Attorney General. 

As I look toward the upcoming four years, and the challenges that lay ahead, I will once again look to the Attorney General to stand up for our New Jersey values and to keep the office, and our state, moving forward. 

To meet this challenge, it is my honor and pleasure to nominate Matt Platkin to serve as the 62nd Attorney General of the State of New Jersey. 

Matt grew up in Florham Park and Morristown and graduated from Madison High School. 

He currently resides in Montclair with his wife, Sophia, and their son, Robert, who are with us. We’re also joined today by Matt’s parents, Judy and Larry. 

Matt holds both his undergraduate and law degrees from Stanford University, but I don’t hold his having absconded to the other coast against him. Importantly, he came back to New Jersey to engage in public service and give back to the state that gave him so much.  

I have known Matt, personally and professionally, for the last eight years. I have seen his intellect, his work ethic, his commitment to good governance, and his ethical sense of right and wrong.

As my first Chief Counsel, he was my primary advisor on all of our administration’s legal matters, and spearheaded many of our policy initiatives, including gun safety, voting rights, and the rights of those left at society’s margins.  

But I particularly think of the earliest days of the pandemic, as he ably led the Counsel’s Office in helping us confront the greatest public health crisis not only of this current century but the last 100 years. 

Every Attorney General needs strong legal skills, which Matt has in spades and has proven in his time as Chief Counsel, in private practice, and in the pro bono work he has undertaken.  

But every Attorney General also needs to lead with empathy. And Matt has that, too. That trait is written throughout many of the laws he helped craft and see passed as Chief Counsel. 

Under our state’s Constitution, unlike most of the Cabinet, the Attorney General is given a layer of independence. As I noted earlier, the Attorney General isn’t the Governor’s Lawyer, but the People’s Lawyer, entrusted with enforcing the laws of our State fairly and evenhandedly.

This independence is most crucial in matters which are criminal in nature and must, because of that, be absolutely free of politics. I know Matt has the backbone and the fortitude to uphold this sacred principle. 

As I noted in my Second Inaugural Address, just because one term ends and another begins doesn’t mean that the old challenges fade away. The same can be said for the Attorney General.  

I know Matt will continue the Attorney General’s Office’s strong record of taking on polluters, fraudsters, and other criminals.

But looking outward, our nation continues to stand at a crossroads … 

When it comes to fundamental questions about policing and our criminal justice system … 

When the right of states to enact and enforce commonsense gun safety laws is under attack … 

When voting rights are being restricted across the country … 

And when the very sense of the American Dream itself seems to be falling from the grasp of so many. 

In these issues, and many more, New Jersey will show the way forward. Not just through smart policies and strong laws, but an equally smart and strong defense of both. In this the Office of the Attorney General will stand tall. 

I think of the words of Robert F. Kennedy, who addressed the law school at the University of Georgia in his first formal speech after becoming United States Attorney General in 1961.  

Although we are now more than 60 years removed, his words still prove salient. 

And I quote him: “For on this generation of Americans falls the full burden of proving to the world that we really mean it when we say that all men are created free and equal before the law. All of us might wish at times that we lived in a more tranquil world, but we don’t. And if our times are difficult and perplexing, so are they challenging and filled with opportunity.” 

We have made historic strides in making New Jersey the Opportunity State in so many areas across the past four years. And there is still much more to do.  

With Matt serving as our Attorney General, I know that New Jersey’s storied laws, which have opened doors of opportunity and knocked down barriers of injustice for so many, will be in good hands.

It is now my tremendous pleasure to present the next Attorney General of the State of New Jersey, Matt Platkin.