Two Asbury Park, New Jersey police officers admitted in court Tuesday that they vandalized a pair of cars belonging to a man who filed an internal affairs complaint against them, state authorities said.
According to NJ.com, “Police Officer Stephen Martinsen, 31, and former SLEO-2 Thomas Dowling, 27, both of the Asbury Park Police Department, pleaded guilty to fourth-degree criminal mischief over their actions.
Martinsen, a member of the Asbury Park police force since 2013, was suspended without pay when the charges came to light. Dowling, a Class-II special law enforcement officer, was fired.
As part of their plea deals, they must forfeit any future public employment in the state, Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni said in a statement, NJ.com reports.
They also face probation when they are sentenced on Oct. 16 and must pay back the victim for the damage they caused to his cars, the office said.
“Spiteful retaliation from law enforcement officers towards a citizen for any reason is an unacceptable option. This is in no way condoned at any level, for any reason,” Gramiccioni said in the statement. “All members of the law enforcement community must maintain the public’s trust by conducting themselves at the highest level of integrity and decency.”
Prosecutors say the men wore disguises when they rode their bikes to the vehicles in Ocean Grove and Asbury Park, smashed out the windows and slashed all the tires on Sept. 3 between 3 and 4 a.m.
The vehicles belonged to Ernest G. Mignoli, 70, an Asbury Park resident who filed an administrative complaint against both officers several days before the incidents.