Man Charged With Harassment for Calling Prosecutor With Questions About Police Shooting

booked itNorthJersey.comA year and a half ago, 19-year-old Malik Williams escaped from a police station in Garfield, New Jersey while being booked. He was chased outside (video here) and eventually shot after allegedly charging at them with a claw hammer and metal handsaw. A grand jury decided there wasn’t enough evidence to charge any of the officers with a crime, but the desk duty cop was reprimanded for leaving his post during the escape and one of the two cops involved in the actual shooting has filed for an early disability retirement (he’s in his mid-thirties according to local news reports).

There has, however, been a charge in relation to the shooting; a local coach is on trial for harassment for calling prosecutors with questions about the shooting. A ruling is expected tomorrow. From NorthJersey.com:

[Wayne] Harper is charged with harassment, a disorderly persons offense, for making repeated telephone calls to the Prosecutor's Office on March 7, 2012. The intent of those calls, police allege, was to harass employees of that office, including Prosecutor John L. Molinelli and his assistant, Patricia Scanlon.

According to witnesses at Harper's trial, the Prosecutor's Office received numerous calls that morning from people asking about the shooting of Malik Williams, a 19-year-old Garfieldresident who was killed by police three months earlier after he fled from the Garfield police station. Harper says he encouraged people to call the office, but he denies any responsibility for these specific calls.
Harper and others have questioned how someone could be charged with harassment for calls made to a public office during working hours.

"If they don't want to deal with the public, then they shouldn't work for the public," said Walter Luers, president of the New Jersey Foundation for Open Government. "This is a misuse of prosecutorial resources. They should be going after real criminals, not concerned citizens."

The prosecutor and his assistant recalled the horrors of that day in testimony:

Around 10:30 a.m. on March 7, 2012, an “exorbitant” number of calls started coming in to the Prosecutor’s Office from people asking about the Williams case, receptionist Margaret Burns testified at Harper’s trial, which was held over a three-day period starting in October.

The calls came “one after the other,” in all about two to three dozen over a period of at least 20 minutes, Burns testified. On a normal day, her office receives about 40 calls an hour, she said.

[Prosecutor John] Molinelli was out of the office at the time, and he says he heard about the calls when he returned. Shortly after he arrived, Scanlon, his assistant, received a call from Harper.

Molinelli directed her to transfer the call to him: “I felt I needed to really resolve this issue,” he testified.

Molinelli testified that Harper demanded to know the status of the case and “when justice would be done.” He advised Harper that he could not comment, but Harper would not accept that and kept interrupting and questioning Molinelli. Finally, Molinelli testified, he told Harper that if he called again, he would be charged.

"Public service," good work if you can get it.

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  • $park¥||

    "This is a misuse of prosecutorial resources. They should be going after real criminals, not concerned citizens."

    Talk about a guy that doesn't get it.

  • John||

    How is this shit not national news? My God the media is a bunch of fucking boot lickers. Criminalizing public protest and concern over the justice system. Nothing to see there.

  • Austrian Anarchy||

    If that caller had SWATed the police station it would be national news. Might have made TMZ.

  • Tonio||

    Well, it's not just the failure of the MSM, John. If the public cared about this, shit would have gone viral. The public doesn't care, except for a few cranks here and at Balko's blog. The legacy media isn't about to jeopardize its special relationship with the po-po over something as trivial as a citizen's right to question authority.

    [Goes off to sulk]

  • SugarFree||

    A year and a half ago, 19-year-old Malik Williams allegedly escaped from a police station in Garfield, New Jersey while allegedly being booked.
  • John||

    Unless they just grabbed the guy and shot him and made the whole thing up, I don't think the booking and escape parts are alleged anymore.

  • SugarFree||

    I don't take the cops at their word. They could have spent the 10 minutes before the video starts threatening to rape him with a broomhandle.

  • John||

    True. But that would still be an escape, albeit a justifiable one.

  • SugarFree||

    And, of course, the important part of the incident has no video.

  • Arnold Rimmer||

    I'm going to call the asshole and ask him about this case.

  • Brandon||

    Meta-harassment.

  • John||

    That is actually a really good idea. A national internet campaign to get people to call this office and ask them about this case.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Maybe mailing something bulky and useless, like a phonebook.

  • John||

    That is good. That was always my idea of how to deal with Fluke; have thousands of people send her a condom.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Say, that would be thoughtful.

  • $park¥||

    Fuck that. I would want the dumb cunt to think I gave in to her demands. Better to send her something absolutely useless to her, like a cheap cigar.

  • $park¥||

    *wouldn't. EDIT BUTTON!

  • Pro Libertate||

    Ah, but you forget, she needed thousands of dollars a year in subsidies to avoid using icky condoms. She has a fundamental right to bareback sex.

  • $park¥||

    Still close enough that it could be thought of as helpful. If it wasn't illegal to mail dog shit that would probably be an even better option.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Okay, to make you happy, condoms with holes punched in them.

  • Ted S.||

    Preferably an unused condom.

  • SugarFree||

    Female condom. There's nothing sexier than fucking a triple-thick ziploc bag.

  • ||

    As someone who was born in New Jersey, and whose entire family is from there, and whose family has some influence: don't not have influence there. It's not good for you.

  • ||

    Don Scungili sends his regards. *throws bullet-riddled thin crust pizza at Epi's feet*

  • ||

    (Leaves empty conch shell on Warty's doorstep as a warning)

  • Pro Libertate||

    I had the best conch salad in Nassau. Guy with a machete, live conch, lime, peppers, etc. = conch salad yumminess.

  • some guy||

    All the best chefs use machetes.

  • Pro Libertate||

    It irks me that I can't get a fresh conch salad here. The islands are like fifty miles off our coast.

  • ||

    Same in the Abacos. I'm not a beach person, but the Abacos were fricken awesome with their conch salad and fishing.

  • Loki||

    For some reason I read that as the Abacos were fricken awesome with their conch salad and fisting.

    I really need to either get my eyes examined.

  • ||

    or.....? Don't leave me hangin'!

  • BakedPenguin||

    "Hey kids! Come back when you got connections!"

  • ||

    "Alright, little ones, back to the orphanarium. You can slide around the gym in your socks."

  • Pro Libertate||

    If you call again, you will be charged. That's a bit arbitrary and capricious, isn't it?

    I wonder if the First Amendment's right to petition the government for redress of grievances applies here and whether that's ever been formally incorporated to apply to the states?

  • John||

    I am sure it has been formally incorporated. And I would imagine that the New Jersey State constitution has a similar provision.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Yes, very likely. I suppose it would be possible for that right to be abused--for instance a giant set of speakers placed outside the office, booming the petition at 200 decibels might be a bit much, but this seems far short of something like that.

  • Libertymike||

    Sounds okay to me provided that the noise does not trespass upon the rights of neighbors to the courthouse.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    What's this nonsense about a First Amendment? You must be making it up.

  • sarcasmic||

    The word "public" in "public service" means everyone except the individual member of the public with whom the servant is dealing with at any particular moment.

    Thus anyone who attempts to get the attention of a public servant is distracting them from helping the public.

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    Goddammit, sarc. I'm sick of you forming these bizarre circular arguments the Statists use to justify their Statism. They give me headaches.

  • sarcasmic||

    It helps to know your enemy.

  • $park¥||

    I wonder if the First Amendment's

    That's it buddy, get your ass in the truck. We don't need to take this shit from you.

  • SugarFree||

    Don't bother your betters. It must be a bleak existence to realize that you will never find out why someone died, even when you know exactly how they died. And the people that killed him were afforded a different standard than they would object you to.

  • ||

    "Object" you to? Did you forget to take your insulin this morning?

  • ||

    What I object to is that you automatically treat me as an inferior.

  • ||

    Well I am king.

  • SugarFree||

    This is what happens to anarchists when you give them power. Monsters. Monsters all.

  • $park¥||

    We let him call himself king because everyone knows he's crazy and nobody cares. Shit, I'm the Emperor.

  • ||

    I looked into the mirror and saw what I feared most: you.

  • Skyhawk||

    Well, I didn't vote for you.

  • SugarFree||

    me no typpe gud

  • ||

    You didn't answer the question.

  • SugarFree||

    I took it, but I was all out of the grape-flavor so I didn't take enough.

  • Fluffy||

    If I'm reading this right, he didn't even make the calls himself. He just encouraged other people to call.

  • sarcasmic||

    You don't have to show up to a riot to be charged with inciting it.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Isn't this a WKRP episode?

  • Fluffy||

    Somebody should drop a helicopter full of turkeys on this prosecutor's office.

  • sarcasmic||

    Turkey drop in 30 seconds.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ST01bZJPuE0

    I miss that show.

  • ||

    Bailey, Bailey, Bailey. Yeah.

  • sarcasmic||

    You guys are homosexuals for not liking the one with the big tits!

    /John

  • Pro Libertate||

    As I recall, Jan Smithers wasn't unendowed by her creator, either.

  • sarcasmic||

    Compared to Loni Anderson she looked like a boy!

    /John

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    Bailey...

  • Pro Libertate||

    It's the one where Johnny told everyone to throw their garbage on the steps of City Hall.

  • Agammamon||

    " . . .how someone could be charged with harassment for calls made to a public office during working hours."

    Its a DOS attack - charge him with violating federal hacking laws!

  • Loki||

    "If they don't want to deal with the public, then they shouldn't work for the public," said Walter Luers, president of the New Jersey Foundation for Open Government.

    Silly man, he thinks they work for "the public."

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