Brickbat: Sorry, Wrong Number


A New Jersey woman is suing the borough of Penns Grove and its former police chief, Patrick Riley Sr., claiming that Riley mistakenly outed her as a confidential informant to a member of a violent street gang. The suit claims Riley called what he thought was her number a left a message containing details of a confidential investigation that misrepresented the woman as a cooperating witness. The number actually belonged to someone associated with the gang. Riley was suspended over the incident but ultimately not punished. He retired six months later on full pension and with a $150,000 payout. The woman says she is now in fear for her life.

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  1. Suspended with pay, 150,000, and a cushy pension. Sounds like he’s suffered enough.

    1. They could have at least thrown in a lifetime subscription to Police Chief magazine.

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    2. Yeah, just imagine the ribbing he’s gonna get at the next retired cop BBQ.

  2. It’s New Jersey. I’d be skeptical of the claim that he “accidentally” dialed that number. He knew what he was doing.

  3. The woman says she is now in fear for her life.

    She should. Making the police look bad wins you a lot of armed enemies.

  4. I’m trying to piece together what actually went on here from the incomplete jigsaw puzzle left by the linked report. This policeman knew a certain woman supposedly as someone who could have information assisting in an investigation, and asked her. The woman refused or didn’t have such information. The policeman later phoned a number that was thought to have rolled over to voice mail, and left a message. Somehow that message identified her, revealed details of the investigation, said that she was cooperating, and was picked up by a member of the organization that was targeted. And then somehow word of that revelation got back to this woman.

    I don’t know what to believe here, and/or what important details are missing. But I could put together some alternative scenarios for what this might have been about.

    1. Cop hits on girlfriend of known gang member. She spurns cop, so cop burns her back by leaving phony message for her gangster boyfriend.

    2. Same as #1, except boyfriend isn’t even a gangster, but the cop wants to make him out to be one.

    3. Witness won’t cooperate, so cop throws her to the wolves.

    4. Corrupt cop tips gangster to potential fink in their midst.

    5. The lady’s a gangster. Cop never contacted her but is shaking the tree to see who falls out.

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