HOLMDEL, NJ - The pooping incident a year behind him, Former Kenilworth Schools Superintendent Thomas Tramaglini has, on April 30, filed a federal complaint against the Holmdel Police Department, the School Resource Officer, Police Chief and others. The lawsuit stems from him receiving several citations for defecating on Holmdel High School grounds.
Tramaglini, through his attorney, contends that he was unlawfully taken into custody without being issued a Miranda warning and that his booking mug shot was prohibited under New Jersey law for low-level noncriminal defenses when he was photographed on May 1, 2018.
Shortly after he defecated (eventually paying a fine of $500.00) on school grounds and was cited, he lost his job as Superintendent of Kenilworth schools.
Holmdel police said at the time that the investigation that led to Tramaglini’s citations was initiated by complaints from school staffers using the fields.
“(The) Holmdel School Resource Officer was alerted by Holmdel High School staff and coaches that they were finding human feces, on or near the area of the High School track / football field on a daily basis,” said Holmdel police in a statement on social media.
They said the resource officer and school staff “monitored the area and was able to identify a subject responsible for the acts.” Tramaglini is a Matawan resident, police said.
The Kenilworth School Board issued a statement shortly after learning about the matter.
“We learned of municipal court charges facing our current (Kenilworth) superintendent of schools in (the Township of) Holmdel, NJ,” said the board. “Given the nature of those charges, he asked for and was granted a paid leave of absence.”
Tramaglini had been employed in public education for over 20 years prior to his resignation. Tramaglini was paid about $147,500 by Kenilworth schools.
The Holmdel Police Chief and School Resource Officer were both named in the complaint as well as numerous other named and unnamed parties.
The photograph was published by media outlets from around the world. The lawsuit also references multiple whistleblowers from inside NJ.com and that editor Christopher Kelly 'instructed journalists to write multiple redundant stories quote lacking any news value whatsoever focusing primarily on what was depicted in the unlawfully taken and disseminated booking photograph'. The lawsuit stated that NJ.com's Kelly, according to multiple whistleblowers, said "let's have some fun with this".
In his suit he maintains the taking of mugshots (for what he was cited for in the case) is widely known in law enforcement as a prohibition. He is seeking damages and maintains that he will 'never achieve the level of compensation benefits and retirement pension income' that he would've otherwise had if the photograph had not been released to the media.
His suit cites the jurisdiction in the complaint as incorporated in the Fourth, Fifth and Sixth amendments of United States Constitution. His claim under the Fourth Amendment regards being secure from unreasonable search and seizure, under the Fifth Amendment regards a claim of being deprived of life liberty or property without due process of law and under the Sixth Amendment the right to enjoy a speedy and public trial.
The main complaint is about the booking photograph and the resulting worldwide coverage. His suit maintains that the booking photograph should not have been taken or distributed. He mainly focuses on Patrolman Martin and the Police Chief and other unnamed officers.
Among other counts he alleges negligent infliction of emotional distress, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligent hiring, failure to supervise, defamation, invasion of privacy and intrusion of seclusion.
On October 24, 2018 he pled guilty to a single noncriminal municipal ordinance. All remaining allegations against him were dismissed. He paid a $500 fine and is represented by Fox Rothschild LLP and Attorney Matthew Adams.