Legislature Right to
Police and Law Enforcement News
December, we published a column ("A
Trooper, An Assemblyman, and a Video" December, 2012) where we
called out the New Jersey Legislature and raised serious doubt as to
whether they would take action against one of their own for the false
accusations he made against a New Jersey state trooper.
entire episode began in February of 2012 when Assemblyman
Nelson Albano filed an internal affairs complaint against New Jersey
State Trooper Randy Pangborn. Trooper Pangborn had stopped Mr.
Albano several days earlier.
Albano filed the complaint in the form of a letter prepared on official
letterhead, and he sent it directly to the colonel of the New Jersey
In the letter,
Albano said that the trooper made him feel like a criminal and requested
a second unit to block in the assemblyman's car. More seriously,
accused Trooper Pangborn of purposely targeting
him in retaliation "because of the
changes in health care and pension reform," an accusation
which borders on second degree official misconduct.
video from the dash camera of Trooper Pangborn's car depicted an entirely different encounter. It
showed Trooper Pangborn to be completely courteous and professional
during the entire stop. He never requested a second car and Mr.
Albano's vehicle was never boxed in by other trooper units..
result, Trooper Pangborn was completely cleared.
Tuesday, the Joint Legislative Committee on Ethical Standards voted 8-0
to fine Mr. Albano $500. for violating the public's trust.
they acted with no immediacy which is unfortunate. It took more than a
year to get to this point. Also, the complaint was filed by a citizen,
not from within the legislature. It's actually rather pathetic. But at
least a sanction was imposed.
bright spot was that democrats and republicans were able to find rare
common ground and vote unanimously.
fairness, we should mention that according to the
Star Ledger, Mr. Albano subsequently withdrew his complaint and
issued an apology. His attorney also pointed out that at the time of
the initial incident, the man who killed Mr. Albano's son in a DWI car
accident was being released from prison. It doesn't excuse
what happened, but it is a mitigating factor worthy of mention.
In the end, what matters most
is that a New Jersey police officer was cleared of false allegations.
And the dashboard camera
saves yet another career.
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