Bettering Plainfield with the facts since 2005

Friday, October 3, 2014

Is Lt. Abney victim of a vendetta?

What does 'just and capable' mean when considering the Police Division?

I have been contacted by several readers who express disbelief and dismay at the indictment of Plainfield Police Lt. James Abney over allegations of timesheet tampering, even as more details are emerging (see today's Ledger story here).

Olddoc wondered aloud Wednesday if Lt. Abney were the victim of a vendetta from within the Police Division, citing his own personal experience of working with him on Mayor Mapp's transition team. You can read Olddoc's post here.

Others have cited Lt. Abney's outstanding work with the city's block associations over the years.

I do not know the answer to this question, and certainly Lt. Abney is presumed innocent of the charges until proved guilty in a court of law.

However, there are several things we all should keep in mind as this situation unfolds.

I have been hearing for years from officers in the Police Division of favoritism in overtime and extra duty assignments -- including suspicions that timesheets were being padded or faked altogether. (Extra duty consists of assignments when off-duty for such things as retail security, or traffic monitoring at construction sites, etc.) Some have compared it to High School on steroids -- with those in the 'in' clique benefiting financially and others being more or less shut out from the extra pay. It is certainly a complaint that goes way back -- and before these two officers were involved. Is it time that the situation is finally being addressed? How could anybody argue against that?

As to the charges against Lt. Abney specifically, consider these points --
  • Under the leadership of Mayor Robinson-Briggs and her police director Martin Hellwig, every effort seems to have been made to avoid involving the legal system, instead giving miscreants the opportunity to resign, make restitution or otherwise avoid the criminal justice system. For reasons that we cannot know -- at least at this point -- the current police director, Carl Riley, has chosen a different path, involving the Union County Prosecutor's Office and ultimately the criminal justice system.

  • Was the Internal Affairs investigation tainted or used to orchestrate a vendetta? That is an avenue that Abney's defense can pursue.

  • Is anyone prepared to suggest that the grand jury system has been corrupted -- either by the submission of false or spurious materials, or the suppression of exculpatory evidence? It is difficult for me to believe that, though I am keenly suspicious of political intrigue and maneuvering in Union County.

  • Can justice be best served by removing the case from the clutches of Union County politics entirely -- that is by moving the trial to another, less politically susceptible venue? That may be an option for Abney's defense. But I will leave it for you to tell me where in New Jersey one can go to escape the intrusion of politics.
In the meantime, we will have to be patient and see how the case unfolds. If proven innocent, Lt. Abney will have his own options to pursue.

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Anonymous said...

Oh Dan
I m sure you believe in the easter bunny too

Anonymous said...

Oh Dan,
Sounds like someone's been crying on your shoulder.
And I guess you still believe in the great pumpkin too

College student said...

I see finally that the shit has hit the fan and people have finally started noticing. I'm glad I moved from this city years ago, I wouldn't be surprised if Plainfield implodes from its citizens' own stupidity and ignorance