NEWARK, NJ –Acting Essex County Prosecutor Robert D. Laurino announced today that an Essex County jury has convicted of Eddie Gonzalez, 39, of Newark of impersonating a law enforcement officer and making false reports against an ex-girlfriend.
A jury convicted Gonzalez of four counts of making false reports and one count of impersonating a police officer following a trial before the Honorable Nancy Sivilli, Judge of the Superior Court.
In 2013, when he met a woman he told her he was a Newark Police officer and she believed that he was because he was wearing a Newark Police shirt. But Gonzalez had previously been terminated in 2008.
When the relationship ended both sought and obtained mutual restraining orders. Gonzalez then went to Newark Police and alleged that on six different occasions between December 2014 and February 2015, she violated the restraining order by stalking him or making harassing calls, according to Assistant Prosecutor Gutierrez.
Eventually, she spoke with the police and told them the allegations were false.
It was at that point it was revealed that he was continuing to wear his police uniform in public and using his badge to get favors.
When authorities investigated his stalking claims, they learned that there was evidence that the girlfriend was not at the locations he claimed to have encountered her. As a result, he was charged with making false reports.
“You cannot use a restraining order as an offensive weapon,’’ said Assistant Prosecutor Tony Gutierrez, who handled the case. “In this case the defendant tried to use a restraining order to have the victim arrested for acts she did not commit. Fortunately, the jury recognized what he was trying to do.’’
“Victims need to be assured that restraining orders are available for their safety, and any misuse of that court ordered protection will be vigorously prosecuted,” added Acting Prosecutor Laurino.
Gonzalez is scheduled to be sentenced on June 8. He faces a minimum of 18 months in state prison.
He has a prior disorderly persons’ conviction. He also has three pending indictments, including one indictment arising from his failure to surrender his personal weapons when was served with the restraining order.
Those charges are accusations. All defendants are presumed innocent unless and until they enter a guilty plea or are found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.