NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. – A Carteret police officer accused of assaulting a teen following a vehicle pursuit was acquitted on all charges Friday, the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office confirmed.
Carteret Mayor Daniel Reiman, the officer’s older brother, said he was “thrilled’ with the verdict by a jury of six woman and seven men who found Joseph Reiman not guilty, reported mycentraljersey.com.
“Justice was served. Not by a 35-second video but by an ethnically and culturally diverse jury from Middlesex County. The jury saw right through this fraudulent persecution of a law enforcement officer doing his job,” Reiman said in a text message, adding the jury heard weeks of testimony and saw hundreds of exhibits.
But the mayor still blasted the decisions made during the process. He attended much of the key testimony during the trial and said the case should have never gone this far.
Moreover, Mayor Reiman said the case was a “persecution, not a prosecution” by the prosecutor’s office and he will be asking the state Attorney General’s Office to investigate.
Specifically, the mayor criticized the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office for releasing the patrol vehicle video clip of the interaction between Reiman and the teen, Monte Stewart, who was 16 at the time.
“The question is, what happened to the charges filed against Monte Stewart two years ago for his criminal conduct, for his motor vehicle violations? The prosecutor’s office buried these and then persecuted a police officer who was doing his job,” the mayor said.
“Now they put every officer in my town in jeopardy because of Andrew Carey, the county prosecutor,” Reiman said. “So, I’m filing a complaint with the Attorney General’s Office. I want an investigation.”
Reiman alleged prosecution was hindered and covered up and witnesses were allegedly tampered with. He declined to provide more details or specifics.
“Action will be taken,” the mayor declared.
“They (prosecutor’s office) argued this was all caused by the police while it was clear as day his (Stewart’s) face and head hit the windshield. They still couldn’t answer how they failed to seize the car, and why the family crushed it within days. The prosecutor’s office never tested the air bag, or the windshield for blood tissue or DNA,” Reiman said.
As the accusations were levied, the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s office declined comment, according to the report.
However, the displeasure appears to be mutual.
Earlier this year, Carey questioned the leadership of the Carteret Police Department after Reiman appointed Dennis McFadden as the new chief.
In addition, in January 2015, Carey called and sent a letter to Mayor Reiman about a news story in which the mayor commented about a man’s body found in an abandoned two-family Essex Street home.
In the letter, Carey said the mayor was “very rude and disrespectful” to him and the prosecutor’s office during their conversation and that Reiman’s statements to the press about the 2015 homicide did not best serve Carteret residents.
On Wednesday, the final day of testimony, Joseph Reiman testified he did not use excessive force in apprehending Stewart after the teen crashed his father’s car, which he had taken without permission, into a guide wire on May 31, 2017.
Reiman testified that he delivered blows to the teen in the head and face in an effort to handcuff him, but he denied including any false information in a police report and said he did not intentionally fail to activate his body worn camera during the arrest. Furthermore, he testified that he did not use any physical force on the teen once he was handcuffed.
Joseph Reiman was indicted in September 2017. He was charged with aggravated assault, official misconduct for failing to use reasonable discretion or restraint in the amount of force used to apprehend the teen and including false information in his police report.
The judge dismissed an official misconduct charge related to failing to activate his body camera during the trial.
Stewart, now 18, also testified during the trial. He said Reiman repeatedly beat him, even while he was handcuffed. He said he tried to use his hands to protect his face. Stewart also testified he did not threaten the officers, reach for their guns, or have any drugs, alcohol or weapons in his possession.
Throughout the trial, Joseph Reiman was joined in court by a group of supporters. Stewart also had a group of supporters, including some who wore T-shirts with photos of the injuries on his face he allegedly suffered during the incident with Reiman.
Stewart’s family could not be reached for comment. The family has a civil suit pending against Reiman.
An NJ.com story indicates Stewart’s father, Russell Stewart, who also testified during the trial, had to be restrained following the verdict and shouted that Joseph Reiman had beat his son.