January 17, 2015
A New Jersey police officer has been indicted for aggravated assault in reference to allegedly telling a K-9 officer to attack a person already contained after being arrested. OC Signal reported the story January 14.
Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph D. Coronato announced the indictment January 13 against Tuckerton Borough Police Officer Justin M. Cherry, who is suspended without pay concerning the incident involving Wendy Tucker.
A video by Philadelphia CBS Local can be viewed here.
Wendy, 58, was misbehaving a bit back on January 29, 2014, in Barnegat Township, when she was an unwanted guest, and police were called. Cherry and another Tuckerton officer arrived at a private residence, and Wendy agreed to leave the residence after speaking with the officers.
Unfortunately, Wendy had driven to the persons home, and police learned she was driving under suspension. She was asked to take the bus, which she agreed to do.
Soon after, Wendy was spotted driving her car down the road and refused to stop when officers attempted to get her to pull over. Police from neighboring communities were alerted, while Cherry followed her.
The indictment states that Cherry allowed his K-9 Gunner to attack Wendy, calling his actions unnecessary, unwarranted and improper. Cherry is also said to have falsified his reports to conceal the attack.
At the time of the attack, Wendy had already been apprehended and was under the control of two Barnegat police officers and posed no threat. Cherry is charged with two counts of official misconduct. One for falsifying his police reports and swearing out an affidavit for her arrest containing false information.
The other count stems from him using his position as a police officer to commit aggravated assault. He’s also charged with false swearing, tampering with public records and hindering his own apprehension, the latter two being second-degree crimes. Aggravated assault and tampering with public records are third-degree offenses. False swearing is fourth degree.
If convicted, Cherry is facing incarceration from between five and ten years for second-degree crimes and between three and five years for third-degree crimes. Fourth-degree crimes carry a sentence up to 18 months.
Ms. Tucker was initially charged with driving with a suspended license and third-degree eluding, with the eluding charge being dismissed.
For those of you how find Cherry’s name familiar, Cherry was one of two Tuckerton police officers who shot and killed a man wielding a meat cleaver during a domestic dispute at a home in September 2011. He was cleared of wrongdoing in that incident after being placed on administrative leave until Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office and the State Attorney General’s Officer concluded their investigation