A New Jersey state trooper has been suspended and criminally charged after it was found he repeatedly pulled over (read: stalked) women to ask for their phone numbers and try to establish a relationship. Trooper Eric Richardson, 31, faces charged because he lied on his paperwork concerning the multiple encounters in an attempt to cover up his actions.
NJ.com reports that Richardson would pull women over and use his position of power to pressure them into responding to his romantic advances. He’d threaten to arrest them for existing warrants or driving an uninsured vehicle. These events transpired between August 2016 and January 2017. Richardson is also accused of pulling a woman over again to ask if her phone number had changes and contacting the women via text message and social media.
“We’re policing our own personnel,” said Capt. Brian Polite, a State Police spokesman.
The Office of Professional Standards, the State Police’s internal affairs office, found that Richardson turned off his dashcam during some of these stops and logged that he stopped to aid a motorist on Jan. 3 and pulled over a man on Dec. 23. Both of these were false reports.
He faces charges of third-degree tampering with public records or information and fourth-degree falsifying or tampering with records and could face up to five years in prison if convicted.
Another trooper, Marquice Prather, was recently suspended for similar actions. Authorities don’t believe there’s a link between the two, which may be worse. If the two cases were linked, they could be written off as an ill-advised technique used by a handful of officers. If they’re truly unrelated, it could show signs of a toxic culture in the department. To everyone’s knowledge, these officers have been driving around the state, unchecked, and harassing women and lying about it.