Police & Fire

Papers Filed in Sparta Trooper Shooting Incident

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Credits: Jennifer Dericks
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TRENTON, NJ – Two of the teens who were shot at by an off-duty state trooper last summer have filed notice of a potential civil lawsuit. It is the next step in the story of the New Jersey State Police officer Kissenger Barreau, who fired his gun at three unarmed teens last summer after they mistakenly went to his home and knocked on the door early in the morning.

Attorney Louis Barbone filed a Notice of Tort Claim with Acting Attorney General, John J. Hoffman in Trenton on Oct. 20.  This notice is required under the New Jersey Tort Claims Act, known as Title 59, Claims Against Public Entities. 

This is not the same as filing a lawsuit. A Title 59 filing tells the state the filers, in this case Jesse  Barkhorn and Jon Baker-Peters, intend to file suit against the state agency and state employees. 

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In the document obtained by TAPinto Sparta, the claim names “The State of New Jersey State Police, Trooper Kissinger Barreau, the Sparta Police Department and numerous currently unknown officers, agents and employees of the State of New Jersey and the Sparta Police Department” in the widely cast net of potential defendants.

The filing recounts basic facts of the incidents that occurred around 2 a.m. on July 26.  The teens went to Barreau’s home. Thinking they were at a friend’s house, they knocked on the door. "Ultimately, they heard Trooper Barreau come to the front door yelling obscenities and knew that they were knocking at the wrong property," the report sayd.

“The claimants returned to their motor vehicle and attempted to leave.  As they drove on the public street, Trooper Barreau appeared with weapon drawn pointing at their motor vehicle, while yelling and purportedly identifying himself as a New Jersey State Trooper and then firing multiple rounds at the claimants, striking the vehicle in what is believed to be two places, all while the claimants were simply attempting to drive out of the housing development.”

According to statements made in an interview with Baker-Peters' mother immediately after the incident, when his car became disabled, Baker-Peters called his mother and then 9-1-1.  Police arrived on the scene and took Baker-Peters and Barkhorn into custody.  This was confirmed in the 9-1-1 recordings obtained by TAPinto Sparta. 

Baker-Peters and Barkhorn were initially taken to the Sparta police department headquarters before being removed to the Netcong State Police Barracks. According to the notice, they were held “in custody at multiple locations for a duration of approximately ten hours.”  Further, “Neither claimant was ever charged with a crime or offense.”

The notice states claims of unreasonable seizure in violation of the New Jersey Constitution, claims pursuant to the NJ Civil Rights act, claims for negligence, false arrest, imprisonment and detention, infliction of emotional distress and assault and battery. They are also claiming violations to their federal and state constitutional and civil rights with regard to the unreasonable search and seizure, unlawful detention, arrest and imprisonment as well as pain and suffering from emotional distress and economic loss. 

Trooper Barreau remains on duty, according to the Office of the Attorney General. 

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