TRENTON –A New Jersey state trooper was charged today with allegedly tampering with or falsifying records to cover up the fact that he conducted improper stops of female drivers for the purpose of pressuring them to begin a personal relationship with him.
Trooper Eric Richardson, 31, of Camden, N.J., was charged today by complaint-summons with third-degree tampering with public records or information and fourth-degree falsifying or tampering with records. He will be suspended from his position as a state trooper as a result of the charges.
Richardson was investigated by the New Jersey State Police Office of Professional Standards, which uncovered separate incidents involving two young women whom Richardson allegedly pulled over and harassed about initiating a personal relationship. He allegedly stopped each of the women repeatedly. Richardson allegedly threatened to arrest one of the women if she did not share her phone number. He also allegedly attempted to ingratiate himself with the women by not impounding their unregistered vehicles, and, in one case, not arresting the woman on an active warrant. The alleged incidents occurred between August 2016 and January 2017. Richardson allegedly communicated with the women on social media and via text using numbers he obtained.
The ongoing investigation has revealed several alleged violations by Richardson, including:
- telling dispatchers and recording in the official computer dispatch log that he stopped a man on Dec. 23, when in fact he stopped one of the women he allegedly was harassing; and
- falsely reporting in the official dispatch log on Jan. 3 that he stopped to aid a motorist, when, in reality, he allegedly stopped the second woman to ask her if she still had the same phone number. He allegedly deactivated the dashboard camera in his car during some of the stops.
Third-degree charges carry a sentence of three to five years in state 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 up to $10,000. The charges are merely accusations and the defendant is considered innocent until proven guilty.
The case is being prosecuted by the Division of Criminal Justice Corruption Bureau. Because the charges are indictable offenses, they will be presented to a state grand jury for potential indictment.
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