A New Jersey state trooper was criminally charged today for allegedly stalking a female motorist in his patrol vehicle while on duty.
Trooper Michael Patterson, 28, of Bayonne, was charged today by complaint-summons with the following criminal offenses:
- Crime of Deprivation of Civil Rights (3rd degree)
- Stalking (4th degree)
- Tampering with Public Records (4th degree)
The New Jersey State Police Office of Professional Standards initially investigated this matter and referred it to the Corruption Bureau within the Office of Public Integrity and Accountability, which filed the criminal charges today and is prosecuting the case.
The investigation revealed that on January 28, 2020, Trooper Patterson conducted a motor vehicle stop of a female motorist on the New Jersey Turnpike at approximately 9:30 p.m. Patterson let the woman go with a warning, but he allegedly conducted a second, unwarranted stop of her vehicle a few minutes later when she exited the Turnpike at Exit 11.
Patterson allegedly conducted the second motor vehicle stop in order to make unwanted advances on the woman. Patterson allegedly disabled the Digital In-Vehicle Recorder (DIVR) in his vehicle to prevent his conduct from being recorded during this second stop. It is further alleged that Patterson subsequently put the victim in fear by following her to her home in his patrol vehicle.
Third-degree charges carry a sentence of three to five years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000, while fourth degree charges carry a sentence of up to 18 months in prison and a fine of $10,000.
The charges are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.