Law & Justice

Press Releases

Off-Duty Elizabeth Police Department Detective’s Use of Force Deemed Legally Justified

ae78224d7b5fdca71353_union_county_prosecutor.jpg
Credits: flickr.com
ae78224d7b5fdca71353_union_county_prosecutor.jpg

In accordance with the Supplemental Law Enforcement Directive Amending Attorney General Law Enforcement Directive No. 2006-5, the Union County Prosecutor’s Office is releasing the following public statement regarding use of deadly force by an off-duty Elizabeth Police Department Detective.

At approximately 7:45 PM, on March 5, 2016, an off-duty Detective, wearing plain clothes, arrived at a restaurant on the 100 block of 5th Street in Elizabeth, New Jersey. Upon his arrival, he placed an order, ate some of his meal, and had the remaining portion packaged for takeout, as the restaurant was scheduled to close at 8 p.m.

Around that time, the restaurant’s owner called out to the Detective to inform him that someone was urinating on the side of the building. Approaching the scene, the Detective observed four to five males standing outside, with one, later identified as Luis Orlando Ruiz-Chicaz, in the process of urinating.

Sign Up for E-News

The Detective brandished his badge and announced his presence, at which time Ruiz-Chicaz turned around, revealing a pistol in his hand. The Detective then immediately identified himself as a member of the Elizabeth Police Department and drew his service weapon.

Ruiz-Chicaz ignored an order by the Detective to drop his pistol and instead started walking toward the group of other males, several of whom also were observed to be in possession of handguns. The Detective then yelled “I’m the police,” prompting all but Ruiz-Chicaz to flee the scene.

At this time the Detective placed both arms around Ruiz-Chicaz in an attempt to disarm him, holding his badge in his left hand and his service weapon in his right hand. During the ensuing struggle, a single round was discharged from the Detective’s weapon.

The struggle resulted in Ruiz-Chicaz being knocked to the ground, at which point he dropped his pistol. At that point Ruiz-Chicaz exchanged words with an unknown male standing nearby who quickly attempted to grab the pistol as it sat on the ground.

The Detective at this point fired a second round from his service weapon at the unknown male, causing him to immediately flee the scene.   No one was injured as a result of the first or second shot fired by the Detective.

Ruiz-Chicaz was subsequently subdued by the Detective, who kept him restrained until additional Elizabeth Police Department patrol units arrived and placed him under arrest.

The Detective’s service weapon was taken into evidence, and a loaded revolver was recovered from Ruiz-Chicaz’s person. Ruiz-Chicaz was later charged with second-degree possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, second-degree unlawful possession of a weapon, and third-degree aggravated assault; a Union County Grand Jury returned an indictment on those charges on July 1, 2016. On December 14, 2016, Ruiz-Chicaz pled guilty to second-degree possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, second- degree possession of a weapon without a permit, and third-degree pointing a firearm at a law enforcement officer. On February 24, 2017 Ruiz-Chicaz was sentenced to five years state prison with a 40-month parole disqualifier by Judge Frederic McDaniel.

The investigation into this incident was conducted by the Union County Prosecutor’s Office’s Shooting Response Team, which canvassed the area and obtained numerous sworn statements, all of which corroborated the Detective’s account of what had occurred. It was determined that due to Ruiz-Chicaz’s failure to obey the Detective’s order to drop his weapon, he placed the Detective and two nearby civilians in imminent danger of death or serious bodily injury.

Following a lengthy review of all relevant evidence, it was the determination of the Prosecutor’s Office that the Detective’s use of force was justified by the legal principles of self-defense and defense of others. With no substantive facts of the case being in dispute, it was determined that the matter did not merit presentation to a Grand Jury; the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General also performed an independent review of this case and reached the same conclusion.

The Prosecutor’s Office complied with all portions of Attorney General’s Law Enforcement Directive 2006-5 regarding the investigation and prosecution of police use of deadly force.

 

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Plainfield

Register Today for Summer Youth Courses Offered at Union County College

June 23, 2018

CRANFORD, NJ – This summer the Office of Continuing Education at Union County College is expanding its course offerings for youth ages 11-18. Classes are taught by NJ-certified teachers and subject matter experts that specialize in delivering high-quality youth programs. Classes begin the week of June 25 and run through August 23.

Classes offered include Introduction to Musical Theater, ...

Get Empowered to Help Prevent Suicide

June 9, 2018

Dear Editor:

Over the past week social media and the news have been filled with stories and articles encouraging people to seek help if they’re in emotional distress. There have been countless articles about the need to break the silence around the topic of mental health and suicide, and I am encouraged by the support people are extending to others.

Often, the death by suicide by ...

Murphy Signs Bill Ending Child Marriage Championed by Westfield’s Fraidy Reiss and Unchained at Last

June 23, 2018

WESTFIELD, NJ — Governor Phil Murphy signed a bill Friday that bars individuals under the age of 18 from marrying or entering a civil union. It was a major win for Fraidy Reiss, founder Westfield-based Unchained At Last, a nonprofit dedicated to helping women and girls in the US to escape or resist arranged/forced marriages and rebuild their lives.

This makes New Jersey the second ...

SRO'S - ENSEÑANDO POR EJEMPLO

June 17, 2018

Hay un grupo de oficiales de policía que les dan un servicio a nuestra comunidad de una manera notable. Todos los días estos hombres y mujeres se levantan, van al trabajo, y aseguran que nuestros hijos aprendan en un ambiente seguro. Los llamamos Oficiales de Recursos Escolares, pero son mucho más. 

Si llegas a la oficina de los Oficiales de Recursos Escolares en la ...

Empleando Nuestra Juventud 

Querido Plainfield, 

Todos esperan el verano; los días son más calientes y largos, y la madre tierra se pone su mejor vestido mientras las frutas se maduran en el sol y las flores ondean un alegre "hola". La gente comienzan los paseos de la playa o piscina, y las juntas de barbacoa en los patios son necesarios en los fines de semanas.

Aquí en la ciudad de ...

Meet Toran Smith: Union County All Star

June 18, 2018

Plainfield resident, Toran Smith, age 16, has been selected to play on the 2018 Union County underclassmen all star team.  On June 10th, the Union County All-Stars played against the Hudson County All-Stars at Kean University.  Smith played third baseman. 

Smith, a junior at Union County Vo-Tech magnet high school, is a Junior infielder on the Plainfield Cardinals Varsity ...

'Half Time' delivers with sterling cast

MILLBURN, NJ – The Paper Mill Playhouse is putting on a smashing new production of “Half Time” to round out its current season.

With actress Georgia Engel in an engaging performance, the cast also features Donna McKehnie, Andre De Shieilds and Lilias White, among a host of other talents.

The musical centers on an effort to have seniors perform a dance number during ...

'Half Time' lights up Paper Mill stage

‘Half Time’ turns the tables on aging in gleeful production

By Liz Keill

MILLBURN, NJ – The Paper Mill Playhouse is putting on a smashing new production of “Half Time” to round out its current season.

With actress Georgia Engel in an engaging performance, the cast also features Donna McKehnie, Andre De Shieilds and Lilias White, among a host of other ...

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn (William Morrow, 2018)

 

A friend, whose opinion on literature I respect greatly, reported to me recently that she had just finished reading A.J. Finn's debut novel, The Woman in the Window. Of it she said, “I wish I hadn't finished it,” which I interpreted to mean, “It was so good I'm sorry that I finished it.” ...

When the Men Go Off to War by Victoria Kelly

When the Men Go Off to War by Victoria Kelly (Naval Institute Press, 2015)

Victoria Kelly's first published volume of poetry, When the Men Go Off to War, is a wonder in that poems can be written so beautifully about the subject of war. Each poem is a jewel, polished and colorful, glittering with elegant imagery, and rich in emotional wallop. The book, divided into three sections, ...

The Queen of the Big Time by Adriana Trigiani (Ballentine Books, 2005)

            The Queen of the Big Time by Adriana Trigiani, a New York Times best selling author, was recommended to me by a young woman who actually came from the town of Roseto, Pennsylvania, the place where the novel is set. “The author did such a wonderful job of describing how the town actually is,” said the young lady.

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah (St. Martin's Press, 2018)

            What is the “final frontier” on the Earth's surface? Many people would say Alaska, the 49th state, which was added to the United States fifty years ago. Once one has traveled to that remote land, it is impossible to forget the magnificence of the terrain and beasts. Floating by ship in Glacier Bay, surrounded by ...

The Man in Room 306 at the Luna Stage, West Orange, NJ

            The Luna Stage, a Jersey theater gem, chose to revive its 1995 world premiere drama, The Man in Room 306, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the slaying of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  Starring Jamil A.C. Mangan as Dr. King, this 90 minute production portrays Dr. King in the last hours of his life as he struggles to write a speech for the Poor ...

Into the Water by Paula Hawkins

Into the Water by Paula Hawkins (Riverhead Books, 2017)

 

I wanted to like Into the Water by Paula Hawkins because I had enjoyed her previous novel, The Girl on the Train, which was a suspenseful thriller. However, when I finished reading the first part of the Into the Water, I realized that I had not absorbed anything that was happening in the story. I blamed myself for not paying ...