Law & Justice

Township of Livingston Refuses to Release Report on April 19 ESU Swat Training Exercise: Is Township Violating Open Public Records Act (OPRA)?

78a0f33fc9e1afd2667d_stock_image_-_government_revised_-_v1.jpg
Credits: TAP Staff
78a0f33fc9e1afd2667d_stock_image_-_government_revised_-_v1.jpg


LIVINGSTON, NJ – On May 9, 2013, The Alternative Press of Livingston reported on an altercation and alleged assault involving Township Manager Michele Meade and police officers and civilians during an Emergency Service Unit (ESU) SWAT Training Exercise.

In response to an Open Public Records Act (OPRA) request by The Alternative Press of Livingston, Livingston Township Clerk Glenn Turtletaub rejected the request, stating that the report created by John Quirk, Esq. for the township council is an Internal Affairs investigation under Attorney General Guidelines and, therefore, cannot be released. However, those same guidelines--as well as the Livingston Chief of Police, previous statements made by the township and also Councilwoman Deborah Shapiro--appear to suggest otherwise.

On Monday, June 4, TheAlternativePress.com submitted an OPRA request to Turtletaub for “attorney John Quirk’s full report to the township council summarizing the investigation and conclusions reached for the police department ESU incident involving Township Manager Michele Meade.”

Sign Up for E-News

On June 13, TheAlternativePress.com received a response email from Turtletaub stating, “On advice of counsel, this document is part of an Internal Affairs investigation file, and under the Attorney General’s guidelines, cannot be released to you at this time.”

However, according to 2011 New Jersey Internal Affairs Policy & Procedures, investigations initiated by the township council are not included in the list of law enforcement agencies that follow Attorney General guidelines

Furthermore, Livingston Police Chief Craig Handschuch told TheAlternativePress.com, “The report is a private investigation into the ESU training initiated by the township council and is not recognized by the police department or our Internal Affairs Unit.”

Prior statements from the township provided to The Alternative Press of Livingston also conflict with the Township’s stated reason for rejecting the OPRA request. 

According to the press release issued by the township to TheAlternativePress.com regarding the April 19 ESU training, the town council “moved swiftly to initiate an independent investigation of the incident at a meeting on April 22.”

For a follow-up article, Councilwoman Deborah Shapiro also emphasized that she felt it should be a “purely administrative investigation.”

On Thursday, Shapiro told The Alternative Press of Livingston that “there are some on the council that do not want the report to be released yet because the investigation is still open and because we are waiting for information from the [Livingston Police] Chief.”  

Shapiro also said that “the council has nothing to hide,” and “I personally don’t think there is anything wrong with releasing the report at this time… It is what it is, and truth is truth.”

TheAlternativePress.com has contacted the New Jersey Government Records Council and has been recommended by the Council to file a Denial of Access Complaint.

The Alternative Press of Livingston reached out to both Mayor Rudy Fernandez and counsel for the town, Jennifer Roselle of Genova Burns, for comment on the matter, but neither has responded.

Related Articles:

Livingston Township Investigates Unannounced SWAT Team Exercise; Charges Filed Against Township Manager

Police Reports Paint Conflicting Picture of Livingston SWAT Exercise – Was Township Administrator Meade the Aggressor or Victim?

Editor’s Note: 

Thank you to the many residents of Livingston who have contacted us with information relevant to our news stories regarding the Township of Livingston.  If you have information you would like to share, including on an anonymous basis, please email us at jmarrone@thealternativepress.com or call us at (973) 220-9237 or mail us at P.O. Box 2121, Livingston NJ 07039.

 

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Livingston

Livingston Pitcher Ryan Cardona Named Athlete of the Week

April 5, 2018

LIVINGSTON, NJ — As spring sports begin at Livingston High School, the varsity baseball team’s star pitcher, Ryan Cardona, has been named the season’s first Athlete of the Week.

The senior threw 91 pitches in an extra-inning showdown against Millburn, a Top 10 team, on Saturday morning—walking one and striking out 12 before being taken out. Although the ...

Free Wellness Event at The Joint Chiropractic

April 17, 2018

WEST CALDWELL, NJ — The public is invited to a "Wellness Event to Remember" at The Joint Chiropractic in West Caldwell on Thursday, April 19 from 7 p.m. to  9 p.m.

Guests will include:

Michael Piercy, owner of The Lab
Justyna Debski, owner of Revive Mind Body
Karen Caplan, owner of Nutrition Transitions

Join the ...

Luxury Facial Services 50% OFF

MILLBURN, NJ - DeAmour Salon & Spa is proud to announce its newest team member, Renee Rudikh, formerly of the famous Georgette Klinger Spa at the Short Hills Mall.

Rudikh has extensive experience and specializes in a plethora of facial styles including: deep pore cleansing/European, microdermabrasion with collagen, teenage, men's, back, LED and customized European ...

YMCA $0 Enrollment in April

LIVINGSTON, NJ - For the month of April, the West Essex YMCA is offer $0 enrollment. 

Take advantage of all that your local Y has to offer for the whole family!

Personal Training
Group Classes
Swimming
Camp
Childcare 
Low monthly membership
And much much more!...

Check out all that the Y has to offer HERE

About the West Essex YMCA:
The West Essex YMCA has ...

MAX Challenge of West Orange - 2 Weeks FREE and more...

WEST ORANGE, NJ - The MAX Challenge of West Orange is about to start its next challenge.  Sign up before April 9, and you will receive maximum benefits, including two weeks free!

NUTRITION... MOTIVATION... RESULTS..!

SIGN UP BEFORE APRIL 9TH AND GET THE 'TAP CHALLENGE' PROMO:

12 weeks for the price of 10
Unlimited fitness classes 
Nutritional ...

deAmour Salon - Complimentary Blowout with Other Select Services - $40+ Value

Millburn, NJ - Salon Profilo in Milburn has recently rebranded to deAmour Salon & Spa! In celebration, owners Roula and Grace are inviting new and existing clients to enjoy a complimentary blowout with any color service. Call (973) 379-8300 to schedule your appointment. Promo code: TAP COLOR

deAmor Salon specializes in multiple coloring techniques and stays current on industry ...

Guerrero Martial Arts Kids - 50% OFF

CALDWELL, NJ - Guerrero Martial Arts in Caldwell is offering 50% off of their regular 6 week trial program.  Regular price of $69 is being slashed in half to only $34.59 for a limited time only. 

Redeem this discount by clicking HERE and entering in coupon code: TAPKIDS

Six week package includes 12 lessons (2x per week) and a uniform!

" Martial arts ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_abe2cc205e2eb3dd5c79_rookie_rider

Thu, April 19, 7:00 PM

CycleBar Livingston, Livingston

Rookie Rider Class At CycleBar Livingston

Health & Wellness

Sat, April 21, 10:30 AM

West Essex YMCA, Livingston

Healthy Kids Day at the West Essex YMCA

Health & Wellness

Mon, April 23, 1:30 PM

Livingston Public Library, Livingston

Monday at the Movies: LOVING VINCENT

Arts & Entertainment

Man Charged With Kidnapping and Assaulting Essex County Victim

April 16, 2018

NEWARK, NJ – A New York man appeared in federal court last week to face allegations that he assaulted and kidnapped an individual who had a protection order against him, according to U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito.

Rudolf Szoradi, 50, is charged by four-count criminal complaint with kidnapping, transporting a stolen vehicle across state lines, interstate domestic violence and interstate ...

Valyrian Steel: Where is it All? Should We Still Care?

There is a glaring hole in recent Game of Thrones seasons that needs to be addressed: the ability of Valyrian steel to destroy White Walkers has not been acknowledged since before Jon Snow’s death.

In fact, it hasn’t been mentioned since the Season Five finale when Jon Snow reveals this discovery to Sam Tarly. Jon has cared about little more than the war between the living and ...

Victoria Pevzner, Origin Health & Fitness Student-Athlete and Fencer, Captures Silver Fencing Medal in International Competition

April 19, 2018

LIVINGSTON, NJ — Victoria Pevzner, an 11-year-old fencer, placed second in the U-13 Girls’ Foil event at 2018 Challenge Wratislavia, an international youth fencing tournament in Wroclaw, Poland, March 22-26, 2018.

The "13 year-old and under" girls foil event included more than 180 competitors from the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Great Britain, ...

Letter to the Editor: Don't Complain. Vote!

April 12, 2018

Don’t Complain; Vote!

It’s no secret that people have strong feelings about what’s happening in our country. It’s also true that much of politics is local. In November, 11th District residents will have the opportunity to choose a new congressional representative who will not only serve as a critical check on the federal level, but also determine how our distract fares ...

Cluelessly Clueless

I teenaged my way through high school under the assumption that my parents had no idea what I was doing.  I like to think I was pretty good at withholding information and presenting situations in ways that were other than they really were.

 

Still, sometimes they found things out.  Like the time my friends plopped me on our front door step at one o'clock in the morning ...