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Police and Law Enforcement Home  >  The Column  >  NJ Newspaper's Shot at Police Backfires

The Column

Police and Law Enforcement News
Tuesday, March 18, 2014
 10:34 p.m.


Last Thursday, Jackson Police responded to an accident on Route 571 shortly after 10:00 p.m.  The driver had been seriously injured and was taken to Capital Health Regional Medical Center in Trenton, a Level II Trauma Center.

Back at the scene, the investigation continued.  First responders had discovered suspected heroin earlier when rendering aid to the driver. 

Charges were filed later that evening.

Sadly, the driver succumbed to his injuries on Sunday, three days after the accident.

When such a situation occurs, the charges are administratively dismissed by the county prosecutor's office.

Somehow, the Asbury Park Press got wind of the story, however, they mistakenly thought that the charges were filed by the Jackson Police Department after the victim died.

Can you guess the headline?  It read, " Jackson Cops Charge Dead Man with Heroin Possession."

They even added a cutesy first paragraph to further the shot they were taking at the Jackson Police Department:

Township police on Monday charged [the victim] with drug possession following a car crash last week. But the township man won’t make his court date. He died Sunday.

Shortly after the article was published on their website, the following comment was posted and signed by Jackson PD Chief Matthew D. Kunz:

The Asbury Park Press has again deliberately ignored the facts.  The complaints were issued immediately following the crash.  That was Thursday night into Friday morning.  Unfortunately, [the victim] passed away since then.  It is unfortunate that the press would use the tragedy of a man passing away to take a cheap shot at a police department. 

The press has since changed the story and acknowledged their mistake with the dates.

But does it go far enough?

How utterly disrespectful to this man and his family is it to print such an opening:

Township police on Monday charged [the victim] with drug possession following a car crash last week. But the township man won’t make his court date. He died Sunday.

He won't make his court date?  How could such a sentence be printed?  Was this a serious line or was it meant to elicit a chuckle from readers? 

And if the driver did have a heroin addiction, was his death less tragic? 

Even if JTPD had innocently charged the driver after his death, was this really news?  Is publicly maligning a man who died an acceptable result in order to play let's-make-the-cops-look-bad?

I'm surprised they didn't print the salaries of the officers investigating the crash.  They do it for just about every other story.

The Asbury Park Press was once a loved and respected institution of Monmouth and Ocean Counties. 

Do you remember when reporters actually attended weekly council/committee meetings and reported on the highlights?  Do you remember when they didn't write news stories from Facebook posts?  Do you remember when they covered local news instead of just running Associated Press articles? 

Today, former readers go to for local and Monmouth County news, especially if they've exceeded APP's limit of ten articles per month.

APP, you need to define yourself in this new digital age.  Will you be a respected (and accessible) media outlet for central New Jersey, or will you go with imported articles and shock journalism?  Please let us know.

In the meantime, you acknowledged your mistake; now, how about printing an apology?

Use the comment box below to share your thoughts or read those of others.












NJ Newspaper's Shot at Police Backfires




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