NEWARK, NJ — Four Newark police officers are accused of falsifying records to hide their drinking on the job, according to the acting Essex County Prosecutor, who said a lieutenant was included amongst those charged.
Officers Michael Chirico, 55, Erik Blount, 33, Tashia Jones, 35, and Lt. Norberto Soares, 42 were all charged with tampering with public records, a third-degree crime. Chirico is also alleged to have driven under the influence in the wrong direction down University Avenue and hit a car with four children inside.
“These officers who were charged today do not represent the hard-working officers that work hard each and every day, especially during these tough uncertain times risking their lives,” said Anthony Ambrose, Director of Newark Department of Public Safety.
In January, the four officers allegedly made false entries in a government record with the intention of defrauding another person. The prosecutor’s office said that they falsely reported responding to incidents when surveillance footage and other evidence showed the officers were not present at the locations, but instead drinking at bars while in uniform and on duty.
“The reprehensible behavior alleged to have occurred in this case undermines confidence in law enforcement, and gives a bad name to the vast majority of our officers who risk their lives each day to protect the public,” said acting Prosecutor Theodore Stephens. “Not only did these officers barhop around the city of Newark while on duty and in full uniform, but they lied in an attempt to cover it up.”