Statement of Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal on Today’s Federal District Court Ruling Upholding 2018 Immigrant Trust Directive

Today, the court recognized what we have said all along: New Jersey has the authority to draw a clear, bright line between the work of state law enforcement officers and federal civil immigration officers. This line is more important than ever, as we work hard every day to build and restore trust between New Jersey’s police officers and historically marginalized communities.

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AG Grewal, DCR Issue Two Findings of Probable Cause in Case of Alleged Employment Discrimination Based on Race, Age

TRENTON – Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal and the Division on Civil Rights (DCR) announced today that DCR has issued two Findings of Probable Cause (FPC) in the case of Claudia Robinson, a Black female project manager who alleges that she was discriminated against on the basis of race and age by two different New Jersey companies — the consulting firm that employs her, and one of the firm’s corporate clients.

DCR issued one of the two FPCs against Robinson’s employer, Genpact Pharmalink Global Regulatory Affairs of Short Hills, New Jersey, and issued the other against Bridgewater-based Sanofi U.S. Services, which manufactures and markets pharmaceutical products.

Robinson, age 35, alleged she was discriminated against at Sanofi’s Bridgewater facility after being assigned to work there as a project manager by her employer, Genpact. In a separate complaint against Genpact, Robinson alleged that Genpact “aided and abetted” Sanofi in unlawfully discriminating against her.

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Proposed Regulation – Board of Medical Examiners

NEWARK – The Board of Medical Examiners has proposed amendments to allow licensed midwives to administer nitrous oxide as labor analgesia in licensed health care facilities.

Nitrous oxide, commonly known as laughing gas, is an analgesic used for pain relief. The FDA-approved 50% nitrous and 50% oxygen blend can be inhaled during labor by holding a face mask over the nose and mouth. While considered a less invasive alternative to an epidural, nitrous oxide does not reduce pain or take away the sensation of a contraction. Instead, nitrous oxide relieves anxiety, which helps in the tolerance of pain, and its effects clear quickly.

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State Police Seeking Public’s Assistance with Shooting on State Highway 55

Millville, N.J. – The New Jersey State Police is seeking the public’s assistance with the shooting investigation of a 26-year-old male who was shot and critically injured on State Highway 55 in Millville, Cumberland County earlier today.

At approximately 12:20 a.m., troopers from Port Norris Station responded to milepost 28.2 northbound for the report of a single-vehicle crash. When troopers arrived, they discovered the male victim sustained a gunshot wound and crashed. He was treated at the scene before being taken to an area hospital where he was last listed in critical condition.

Detectives at the scene determined several shots were fired at the victim’s vehicle by an unidentified passing vehicle on the northbound lanes of State Highway 55.

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Attorney General Grewal and Colonel Callahan Announce Takedown of Major Fentanyl and Heroin Mill in Paterson

TRENTON – Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal and New Jersey State Police Superintendent Colonel Patrick J. Callahan today announced arrests of five persons in the takedown of a major fentanyl and heroin mill in Paterson, N.J., that distributed its narcotics in wax folds stamped with the same brand names that have been linked to 14 fatal and 13 nonfatal overdoses.

The New Jersey State Police and its partners seized approximately 6,300 individual doses, an additional kilogram of heroin, and 170 grams of fentanyl – which together have a total street value of $100,500 (kilo of heroin $60,000, 170 grams of fentanyl $9,000 and 6,300 doses $31,500).

Since assuming office in 2018, Attorney General Grewal identified several key initiatives including fighting the opioid crisis. One of the major methods in tackling the opioid crisis has been to identify and disrupt chokepoints in the drug supply by neutralizing heroin mills across the state.

The arrests were made in an ongoing investigation by the New Jersey State Police Trafficking North Unit, conducted with the NJ State Police Opioid Enforcement Task Force, the NJ State Police T.E.A.M.S, K9, and Hazmat Units, the Passaic County Sheriff’s Office, and the Division of Criminal Justice.

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AG Grewal Sues Trump Administration over Unconstitutional Plan to Undercount New Jersey Residents in House Seat Apportionment Totals

TRENTON — Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal announced today that New Jersey has joined a coalition lawsuit to challenge a Memorandum issued by President Trump this week that would for the first time exclude undocumented immigrants counted in the census from state population totals used to apportion seats in the House of Representatives, in disregard of an unambiguous constitutional demand.

The U.S. Constitution requires an “actual Enumeration” of the entire population every ten years, and the 2020 census count is taking place now. The Fourteenth Amendment more specifically requires that elected Representatives be apportioned among the states based on the “whole number of persons” living in each state.

Undocumented immigrants are “persons,” so the “whole number of persons” counted for purposes of apportionment of House seats has always included immigrants, whether documented or not.

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Union County Prosecutor’s Office to Assume Control of Clark Township Police Department and Investigate Credible Allegations of Misconduct

AG Grewal Pledges Support, Resources as Acting Prosecutor Ruotolo Conducts Full Inquiry and Works to Restore Trust Between Law Enforcement and Local Residents

TRENTON – Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal and Acting Union County Prosecutor Lyndsay V. Ruotolo today announced that the Union County Prosecutor’s Office (UCPO) will assume control of the law enforcement and internal affairs functions of the Clark Township Police Department, effective immediately.

Acting Prosecutor Ruotolo also announced that UCPO will conduct a full inquiry into credible allegations of misconduct involving the leadership of the Clark Township Police Department. Attorney General Grewal pledged the full support of his office not only to assist with UCPO’s inquiry, but also to work with UCPO to restore trust with local residents.

Attorney General Grewal and Acting Prosecutor Ruotolo released the following joint statement:

“The residents of Clark Township deserve police leaders that meet the highest standards of the profession. We will conduct a full inquiry into credible allegations of misconduct, and at the same time we will continue to work with our local partners to build greater trust between Clark’s law enforcement officers and the community they serve.”

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AG Grewal Sues Trump Administration to Block Rule that Limits New Jersey’s Ability to Prevent Water Pollution

TRENTON — Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal today joined a coalition of Attorneys General in suing to block a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) final rule that unlawfully restricts the authority of states to protect their waters from pollution.

For more than three decades, the EPA has consistently acknowledged that Section 401 of the federal Clean Water Act provides states with the authority to exercise oversight of federally permitted projects such as pipelines, industrial plants and hydroelectric dams, among others. Under that recognized authority, states could review, impose conditions on, or deny certification for such federally approved projects.

However, as directed by President Trump in an Executive Order issued in April 2019, EPA has now issued a final rule radically altering its water quality certification regulations to restrict states’ authority under the Clean Water Act.

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AG Grewal Files Lawsuit Challenging Trump Administration’s Elimination of Anti-Discrimination Protections in Health Care – As COVID-19 Public Health Crisis Continues, the Challenged Rule Would Eliminate Protections Designed to Ensure Equal Access to Health Care

TRENTON – Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal today joined a coalition of 23 Attorneys General in suing the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) over a new rule that rolls back federal protections against discrimination in health care for women, LGBTQ individuals, persons with limited English proficiency, and others.

Filed today in U.S. District Court in New York, the lawsuit seeks to set aside the rule, which HHS finalized in June. The rule purports to implement Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act—the first federal civil rights law to comprehensively prohibit discrimination in health care—which prohibits discrimination against individuals on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, or age. But, instead of implementing Section 1557, the rule strips several protected groups of important rights.

The Complaint asserts that the new rule—finalized during the global COVID-19 pandemic—“will impose unjustifiable barriers to health care on vulnerable populations at a time when access to care is as crucial as ever.”

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State Police Arrest Three, Seize Drugs, High Capacity Magazine, and more than $200,000 Cash

Ewing Township, N.J. – The New Jersey State Police have arrested Daniel Peyton, 55, of Westampton, N.J., Wayne Bessant, 39, of Trenton, N.J., and Davae Craig, 31, of Trenton, N.J., for various drug and weapon offenses during an ongoing drug investigation.

On Friday, July 10, while investigating alleged drug activity at a residence on Stokes Avenue in Ewing Township, detectives with the New Jersey State Police Crime Suppression Central Unit along with members of the New Jersey State Police Opioid Enforcement Task Force observed an alleged drug transaction between the occupants of a Chevrolet Impala and a Mercedes-Benz. A short time later, detectives along with members of the Ewing Township Police Department stopped the vehicles.

The occupants of the Mercedes-Benz, Craig and Bessant were found to be in possession of $209,000 cash and were arrested without incident. During the stop of the Impala, Peyton fled the scene while briefly dragging a Ewing Township Police Officer. In the area of Shelton Avenue and Chelmsford Court, the Impala became disabled and Peyton was arrested. While conducting a search of the Impala, detectives discovered three kilograms of cocaine. During a search at the Stokes Avenue residence, detectives seized heroin and a high capacity magazine.

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Criminal Charges Filed Against Essex County Detective For Allegedly Lying to Conceal That He Installed GPS Device On Suspect’s Vehicle Without Warrant

TRENTON – Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal announced that criminal charges were filed today against a suspended detective in the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office for allegedly lying to internal affairs investigators in an investigation concerning his installation of a Global Positioning System (“GPS”) device on a suspect’s vehicle without obtaining the required warrant from a judge or departmental authorization.

The Office of Public Integrity and Accountability charged Timothy Kealy, 27, of Bloomfield, N.J., by complaint-summons with the following criminal offenses:

  • Hindering Apprehension or Prosecution (3rd Degree)
  • Tampering with Public Records or Information (3rd Degree)

The Professional Standards Bureau (“PSB”) of the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office (“ECPO”) began investigating Kealy in January 2020 after learning that Kealy, who was assigned to the Essex County Narcotics Task Force, had allegedly purchased and installed a GPS tracking device on a suspect’s car without formal or legal authority. The ECPO has a process by which detectives must obtain permission from supervisors to apply to a judge for a warrant, and only ECPO-issued GPS devices may be used. A court-issued warrant is required by law for law enforcement to install a GPS device on a vehicle.

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Attorney General’s Office Investigating Fatal Officer-Involved Shooting in Paterson

PATERSON, N.J. – The Attorney General’s Office is conducting an investigation of a fatal officer-involved shooting that occurred this morning at approximately 6:30 a.m. inside an apartment located in the 100 block of Hamilton Avenue in Paterson, N.J. One male civilian sustained fatal injuries.

The decedent has been identified as Malik Canty, 36, of New York, N.Y.

The shooting involved members of the U.S. Marshals Service NY/NJ Regional Fugitive Task Force. The Task Force members were seeking to arrest Mr. Canty on a warrant out of New York City for criminally negligent homicide. He was pronounced dead at the scene. A loaded 9mm handgun was recovered near his body.

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Attorney General, DEP Commissioner File Lawsuit Against Nation’s Largest Auto Auction Company For Selling Tampered, Super-Polluting Vehicles

At Same Time, DEP and DCA Announce Actions Against 11 NJ-Based Dealers Responsible For Selling Same Unlawfully-Polluting Automobiles

TRENTON – Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal, Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Catherine R. McCabe and Division of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Director Paul R. Rodriguez today announced multiple legal actions to protect the public from the sale of tampered vehicles that release excessive amounts of air pollution.

To protect the environment and public health, automobile manufacturers are required to reduce pollution from vehicles by installing state of the art emissions control technology that meets air quality standards set by environmental regulators. Despite these clean air requirements, some unscrupulous auto dealers, auctioneers, repair shops and individuals tamper with vehicles by altering or removing the emission control systems or installing software that can disrupt their operation. This tampering violates the law, depletes air quality and threatens public health.

In the first action, Attorney General Grewal and Commissioner McCabe announced a lawsuit against Manheim Remarketing Inc., the nation’s largest vehicle auction company, alleging that it violated New Jersey’s pollution control laws by facilitating the sale of hundreds of tampered vehicles in the state.

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AG Grewal Announces Working Group to Address Goals of Freedom of Press, Free Speech, and Safety During Protests

Mistaken Arrest of Reporter at Protest in Asbury Park Prompts Examination of How Law Enforcement, Journalists, and

Public Can Better Preserve Civil Rights and Promote Safety

TRENTON – Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal today announced that he is forming a working group including law enforcement leaders, journalists, and civil rights advocates to address critical issues of safety, freedom of the press, and free speech during protests in New Jersey.

The announcement was made after the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office (“MCPO”) released the results of its investigation into the June 1 arrest of an Asbury Park Press reporter who was covering a protest in Asbury Park in the wake of the murder of George Floyd. The MCPO concluded that the officers in Asbury Park were not aware they were arresting a journalist. The charges against the reporter had been dismissed previously.

“The freedom of the press to cover matters of public interest is essential,” said Attorney General Grewal. “This bedrock principle is especially important during protests and other mass gatherings, when reporters have both the right and the responsibility to cover these events.

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NJ Board of Nursing Temporarily Suspends Certification of Homemaker-Home Health Aide Charged with Criminal Sexual Contact Against 84-Year-Old Patient in Assisted Living Facility

Action Comes as Division Focuses on How Professional Boards Address Allegations of Sexual Misconduct by Licensees

NEWARK – Continuing its commitment to protecting the elderly from abuse at the hands of their caretakers, and addressing sexual misconduct and abuse by licensed professionals, the Division of Consumer Affairs (“the Division”) today announced the temporary suspension of a certified homemaker-home health aide (“CHHA”) charged with aggravated criminal sexual contact against an 84-year-old patient at an Ocean County long-term care facility where the CHHA worked.

Michael A. Edwards, a.k.a. Michael A. Donaldson, 32, of Manchester, was arrested on May 21 after his employer, Sunrise Senior Living facility in Jackson, told police that another employee caught Edwards inappropriately touching an elderly woman in her room at the facility. His employment at the facility has been terminated.

Edwards is one of eight CHHAs sanctioned by the State Board of Nursing (“the Board”) this year following arrests for crimes allegedly committed on or off the job. In a Consent Order filed by the Board on June 22, Edwards agreed to the temporary suspension pending the outcome of his criminal case.

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Eight Arrested in Takedown of Three Camden-Based

Narcotics and Weapons Trafficking OperationsDefendants Include Gun Trafficker Who Sold Military Style Weapons Using Social Media

TRENTON – Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal today announced the arrests of eight individuals as part of an investigation targeting narcotics and weapons trafficking in Camden.Those arrested include a father and daughter who allegedly supplied narcotics to drug dealers; five alleged members of a drug set that sold large quantities of heroin in South Camden; and an alleged gun trafficker who sold seven firearms, including military style weapons.

The arrests stem from a collaborative, multi-agency investigation led by the Division of Criminal Justice Gangs & Organized Crime Bureau, in collaboration with the Camden County Sheriff’s Office, Camden County Prosecutor’s Office, Camden County Police Department, New Jersey State Police, U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, and U.S. Homeland Security Investigations.

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State Police Asks the Public to Help Flatten the Crash Curve this July 4th Weekend

West Trenton, N.J. – Independence Day 2020 has arrived, and although we will be celebrating differently this year by wearing face coverings and social distancing, we expect our roadways to experience increased traffic as a result of motorists traveling to New Jersey’s beaches, state parks, lakes and other tourists attractions as they always do during this holiday weekend. We know our citizens have done a great job flattening the curve through social distancing, and now we are asking motorists to help us flatten the crash curve by driving defensively, obeying speed limits, and by not getting behind the wheel while under the influence.

During the July 4th holiday last year, there were 9 fatal crashes that resulted in 13 deaths, with alcohol or drugs as a contributing factor for 4 of them. These types of tragedies can often be avoided by calling a taxi, using transportation applications such as Uber and Lyft, making plans to stay with friends or family, or having a designated driver

The New Jersey State Police have planned to significantly increase traffic enforcement details across the state from 6:00 p.m. on Thursday, July 2 to 6:00 a.m. on Monday, July 6. During this period, more than 90 additional troopers will be on special details targeting aggressive driving, speeding, seatbelt usage, distracted driving, and DWI in addition to regularly scheduled patrols.

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Leading Member of Criminal Ring That Trafficked Untraceable “Ghost Gun” Assault Rifles and Cocaine Sentenced to 14 Years in State PrisonArrests in Operation Stone Wall were first ever in a ghost gun trafficking case under law signed by Gov. Murphy in 2018 making it crime to buy, manufacture, possess or sell ghost guns in New Jersey

TRENTON – Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal today announced a lengthy prison sentence for a leading member of a criminal network in Camden County that was dealing cocaine and illegally trafficking untraceable assault rifles known as “ghost guns” assembled from kits purchased online.

Christopher Stoner, 43, of Lindenwold, N.J., was sentenced today to 14 years in state prison by Superior Court Judge Judith S. Charny in Camden County.Stoner pleaded guilty on Feb. 12, 2020 to first-degree distribution of cocaine, second-degree unlawful possession of an assault firearm, and third-degree purchasing firearm parts to manufacture untraceable firearms.He faces a pending charge of second-degree distribution of narcotics based on a Feb. 26 arrest by the New Jersey State Police.

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AG Grewal, Consumer Affairs Announce Voluntary Compliance Program for Unregistered 501(c)(4) Social Welfare Organizations
Through October 1, 2020, the Program Allows Eligible 501(c)(4) Organizations to Avoid Penalties for Past Failures to Register as Charitable Organizations

NEWARK – Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal and the Division of Consumer Affairs (“the Division”) today announced a temporary Voluntary Compliance Program to encourage certain 501(c)(4) social welfare organizations to comply with their obligations to register as charitable organizations with the Division.

Under the Voluntary Compliance Program, the Division will forego collection of penalties for past registration violations by certain 501(c)(4) entities that are subject to the registration requirements of the Charitable Registration & Investigation Act (CRIA), if they have failed to register as required but submit the required documentation by October 1, 2020.

The CRIA requires certain “charitable organizations,” including “social welfare” organizations exempt from federal taxation under Section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code, to register with the Division’s Charitable Registration & Investigation Section. Under the law, social welfare organizations that engage in political activities without being required to disclose their donors to the general public—so-called “dark money” groups—may still be required to report their substantial donors to the Division.

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AG Grewal Sues ICE over New Directive that Bars International Students from Attending U.S. Universities that Shift Programs Online Due to COVID-19 Pandemic
Thousands of Rutgers Students Could Be Shut out of the Country, Costing School up to $200M

TRENTON – Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal today joined a coalition of eighteen Attorneys General in suing to block implementation of a new Directive from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) requiring that international student visa holders attending college in the U.S. take all or most of their classes in-person this fall or face losing their visa status, which could leave them no choice but to disenroll and leave the country.

Announced on July 6 without the required notice and public comment period, the ICE Directive rescinds an exemption—issued by ICE on March 13, 2020—that permitted international students with F-1 and M-1 visas to remain in the U.S. while taking all or the majority of their classes online, due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on in-person education.

The original exemption dovetailed with the plans of colleges, universities, and technical schools in New Jersey and across the U.S. to use online learning for the Fall 2020 semester or the 2020-2021 school year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Trump Presidential Transition Team Agrees to Settlement Over Registration as Charitable Organization, Subpoena Compliance
AG’s Office Will Receive Transition Records that Organization Previously Refused to Produce

NEWARK – Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal and the Division of Consumer Affairs (“the Division”) announced today that Trump for America, Inc., a New Jersey-based 501(c)(4) social welfare organization that raised millions of dollars to support Donald J. Trump’s 2016 Presidential Transition, has entered into an agreement to resolve allegations that the entity unlawfully failed to register with the Division as a charitable organization and then failed to comply with a related subpoena.

Under the agreement, Trump for America, Inc. will cease to exist; will pay a penalty of $30,000, with $27,500 suspended; and will submit a registration statement and additional documents to the Division. The agreement preserves the Division’s ability to further investigate other misconduct by Trump for America, Inc. beyond its failure to register with the Division as a charitable organization.

The agreement also resolves a dispute between the Division and KCH & Associates, LLC, which the Division alleges provided paid fundraising assistance to Trump for America, Inc. without registering with the Division as a fund raising counsel or independent paid fund raiser, then failed to comply with a related subpoena. KCH & Associates will file a registration statement with the Division; pay a penalty of $30,000, with $27,500 suspended; and produce records responsive to the Division’s subpoena.NEWARK – Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal and the Division of Consumer Affairs (“the Division”) announced today that Trump for America, Inc., a New Jersey-based 501(c)(4) social welfare organization that raised millions of dollars to support Donald J. Trump’s 2016 Presidential Transition, has entered into an agreement to resolve allegations that the entity unlawfully failed to register with the Division as a charitable organization and then failed to comply with a related subpoena.

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Attorney General’s Office Investigating Fatal Police-Involved Shooting in Morris Township, N.J.

Morris Township, N.J. – The Attorney General’s Office is conducting an investigation of a fatal officer-involved shooting that occurred at approximately 4:19 p.m. this afternoon on Fairchild Avenue in Morris Township, N.J., when police responded to a 911 call reporting a domestic disturbance. One male civilian sustained fatal injuries.

The investigation is being conducted by the Integrity Bureau within the Attorney General’s Office of Public Integrity and Accountability.

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Division of Consumer Affairs Announce Actions to Expand Access to Mental Health, Substance Abuse Services During COVID-19 Pandemic – Measures Aimed at Expanding New Jersey’s Mental Health Workforce and Improving Access to Substance Abuse Treatment and Counseling

NEWARK –Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal and the Division of Consumer Affairs today announced new measures to promote access to mental health and substance use disorder services and treatment during the COVID-19 pandemic, including a new program to make it easier for recent graduates of social work and counseling programs to start practicing.

In a series of recent actions, the Division took steps to expand New Jersey’s mental health workforce and access to treatment by:

  • creating a program to grant temporary emergency licenses to individuals who recently graduated with a master’s degree or doctorate in social work or counseling but who have not yet been able to take and pass their licensing exams due to the COVID-19 emergency;
  • granting psychologists practicing under supervision a 1-year extension of their permits, allowing them to continue to practice;
  • creating a new pathway for alcohol and drug counselor-interns to provide telehealth and telemedicine services by obtaining a temporary certification; and
  • permanently granting advanced practical nurses more autonomy to treat individuals with substance use disorders through maintenance and detoxification treatment.

The emergency programs announced today are just the latest temporary licensure and certification programs launched by the Division to strengthen New Jersey’s healthcare workforce during the COVID-19 pandemic, and to facilitate recent graduates’ entry into the work force despite their inability to take licensing examinations due to the pandemic. Prior programs focused on increasing the number of doctors, nurses, respiratory care specialists and other medical professionals needed to fight the COVID-19 virus.

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AG Grewal Sues U.S. Department of Education over New Limits on Protections for Student Loan Borrowers

TRENTON – Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal today joined a coalition of Attorneys General in suing the U.S. Department of Education over changes to its “borrower defense” rule that will limit financial protections for student loan borrowers. The lawsuit also names U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos as a defendant.

Adopted in September 2019, the challenged rule makes it harder for students to dispute their obligations to make student loan payments based on wrong-doing by their postsecondary schools. Among other things, the rule limits the types of institutional misconduct that can excuse borrowers from paying their loans; places unnecessary procedural and evidentiary burdens on students seeking relief; eliminates automatic discharges for students at schools that close down; and makes it easier for schools to avoid class actions by students.

Earlier this year, Congress passed a joint resolution to reverse the Department of Education’s changes to the borrower defense rule, but President Trump vetoed the bipartisan joint resolution in May. Although every member of New Jersey’s congressional delegation voted against the rule, Congress was unable to override President Trump’s veto.

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Two Men Arrested During Cooperative Gun Theft Investigation

Middle Township, N.J. – Christopher Liston, 35, and James Liston, 73, both of Cape May Court House, N.J. were arrested for various weapons offenses during a cooperative gun theft investigation.

On July 8, detectives from the New Jersey State Police Firearms Investigations Unit were contacted by members of the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (BATF) to assist with a stolen firearm investigation at a licensed gun dealership in Hamilton Township, Atlantic County. Members of the BATF believed that a package containing a 5.7 caliber handgun was intercepted and stolen by Christopher Liston, and that he brandished a 9mm handgun from his pocket while at a gun dealership a few days prior.

As a result of the investigation, detectives discovered that Christopher Liston purchased the gun out of state and arranged to have it delivered to the dealership. During the transaction, he fraudulently re-routed the delivery of the package to a post office in Rio Grande, N.J. where his father, James Liston, took possession of the firearm.

On July 9, officers with the Hamilton Township Police Department located Christopher Liston at his residence in Cape May Court House. Officers arrested him without incident and seized the 9mm handgun he allegedly brandished at the dealership.

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Attorney General’s Office Investigating Fatal Police-Involved Shooting in Morris Township, N.J.

MORRIS TOWNSHIP – The Attorney General’s Office is conducting an investigation of a fatal officer-involved shooting that occurred yesterday, July 14, in Morris Township, N.J.

The decedent has been identified as Timothy O’Shea, 24, of Morris Township.

According to the preliminary investigation, the Morris Township, Morris Plains, and Morristown Police Departments received a 911 call at approximately 4:14 p.m. reporting a domestic disturbance. The caller reported that a person at the residence had cut himself and had a gun. Uniformed officers of the three police departments responded to the residence on Fairchild Avenue where Timothy O’Shea lived. Upon arrival, officers encountered the 911 caller and took that person into safety. Shortly after, at approximately 4:19 p.m., officers encountered Timothy O’Shea, who was holding a pistol and bleeding. During the encounter, one officer fired his weapon, striking Mr. O’Shea. Officers rendered medical aid until EMS arrived. EMS transported Mr. O’Shea to Morristown Medical Center, where he was pronounced deceased at 5:41 p.m. The pistol that was in his hand was recovered at the scene and determined to be a replica Beretta 9mm airsoft pistol.

The investigation is being conducted by the Integrity Bureau within the Attorney General’s Office of Public Integrity and Accountability.

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State Police Seeking Public’s Assistance with Shooting on Atlantic City Expressway

Egg Harbor Township, N.J. – The New Jersey State Police is seeking the public’s assistance with a shooting investigation where a 13-year-old male was shot on the Atlantic City Expressway in Egg Harbor Township, Atlantic County.

On Sunday, July 12, at approximately 4:06 a.m., troopers from the Troop “A” Atlantic City Expressway Station responded to milepost 7.2 westbound for the report of a shooting. Upon the trooper’s arrival, they found, a 13-year-old male victim conscious and alert seated inside of a white Toyota Tundra pickup truck. He sustained three gunshot wounds and was treated at the scene before being taken to an area hospital where he was last listed in critical but stable condition.

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Woman Sentenced to Six Years in State Prison for Assisting in Scheme in which Straw Buyers Fraudulently Obtained Loans for Luxury Cars

TRENTON –Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal announced that a woman was sentenced to state prison for her role in a theft scheme in which “straw buyers” obtained car loans and high-end cars by fraud. The leader of the scheme previously pleaded guilty and was sentenced to state prison.

Jacqueline Reyes-Keegan, 60, formerly of Fairview, N.J., now of Sherman Oaks, Calif., was sentenced yesterday to six years in state prison by Superior Court Judge Robert M. Vinci in Bergen County. She was found guilty on Feb. 4, 2020 following a jury trial of second-degree conspiracy related to thefts from one car dealership. She was acquitted of a theft charge.On June 11, 2020, Reyes-Keegan pleaded guilty to an additional charge of second-degree theft by deception contained in a separate indictment involving thefts from a second dealership.She was sentenced to six years in state prison on the trial conviction and a concurrent six years in prison on the guilty plea.

Deputy Attorney General Thomas Clark prosecuted Reyes-Keegan for the Division of Criminal Justice Financial & Cyber Crimes Bureau. He was assisted at trial by Research Analyst Rita Gillis and Detective Thomas Van Tassel of the New Jersey State Police. Reyes-Keegan was charged in an investigation by the New Jersey State Police Motor Vehicle Crimes North Unit (formerly the Interstate Theft North Unit) and the Division of Criminal Justice.

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Two Arrested and Over 17,000 Wax Folds of Suspected Heroin and Fentanyl Seized in Takedown of Major Opioid Mill in Paterson
Arrests made in investigation by Division of Criminal Justice and Paterson Police Department

TRENTON – Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal today announced that two individuals were arrested on first-degree drug charges during the takedown of a major opioid mill in Paterson, where over 17,000 wax folds of suspected heroin and fentanyl were seized. Detectives seized rubber ink stamps – used to stamp brands on wax folds – bearing the same brand names that have been linked to 18 overdoses, including 10 fatal overdoses.

The arrests and seizures are the result of an investigation by the Division of Criminal Justice Gangs & Organized Crime Bureau and the Paterson Police Department Narcotics Division.

Rafael Brito, aka “Chiquito,” 33, and his girlfriend, Rosanny Prado, 38, were arrested yesterday at their residence in the first block of East 36th Street in Paterson on the following charges:

  • Maintaining or Operating a Narcotics Production Facility (1st degree)
  • Possession of Heroin with Intent to Distribute (1st degree)
  • Fortifying a Narcotics Manufacturing/Distribution Facility (3rd degree)
  • Possession of Heroin with Intent to Distribute Within 1,000 Feet of a School (3rd degree)
  • Possession of Heroin (3rd degree)

During execution of a search warrant at the home, detectives discovered an active opioid mill in the basement, where they seized over 17,000 wax folds of suspected heroin and fentanyl along with milling equipment and packaging materials. The residence was equipped with numerous surveillance cameras connected to two video monitors set up over the tables in the basement where the drugs were processed.

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To Kick off National Police Week, AG Grewal Announces Virtual Town Hall on Law Enforcement Response to COVID -19

TRENTON – As the COVID-19 pandemic continues and social distancing measures remain in effect, Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal recently announced a series of Virtual Town Hall Meetings that, despite the public health crisis, will provide an opportunity for continued community engagement with law enforcement.

The Attorney General’s 21 County, 21st Century Community Policing Project, “21/21” for short, is designed to sustain a continuum of public engagement with law enforcement in every county. On April 22, Attorney General Grewal hosted a session with over 400 participants on the availability of services for victims and survivors during the COVID-19 pandemic. Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina hosted the second session on Thursday on continuing recovery and addiction services.

The third of the Virtual Town Hall Meetings is scheduled for Monday, May 11, at 4 p.m. The session, held on the first day of National Police Week, will focus on Law Enforcement’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Attorney General Grewal will be joined by Colonel Patrick J. Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police, Marcus O. Hicks, Esq., Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Corrections, Veronica Allende, Director of the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice, Chief Chris Leusner, Chief of the Middle Township Police Department and President of the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police, Chief Nichelle D. Luster, Chief of the Union City Police Department and Pat Colligan, President of the New Jersey State Policemen’s Benevolent Association. The program will honor those we’ve lost and the panelists will discuss law enforcement’s response to the pandemic and share lessons in leadership during a crisis.

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To Prevent Drug Shortages, AG Grewal Imposes Emergency Statewide Restrictions on Certain Prescription Medications Limits on Prescribing and Dispensing Hydroxychloroquine and Chloroquine Ensure Continued Availability for Patients Who Need It Most

NEWARK – Addressing concerns of potential drug shortages caused by the inappropriate prescribing and hoarding of drugs touted by some as possible treatments for COVID-19, Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal and the Division of Consumer Affairs today announced statewide restrictions for prescribing and dispensing those medications.

Demand for hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine, prescription drugs used to treat malaria and certain chronic inflammatory conditions like lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, has increased nationwide following reports that the drugs are being tested as possible treatments for COVID-19.

Reports have raised concerns that the drugs are being hoarded by people who do not have an immediate need. According to reports from pharmacy associations across the nation, it appears the hoarders include doctors and dentists who are writing prescriptions for themselves or family members.

To reduce the risk of a shortage, the Division of Consumer Affairs, under the direction of Attorney General Grewal, today issued an Administrative Order imposing statewide restrictions on prescribing and dispensing of the drugs.

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State Police Seek Public’s Assistance with Identifying Suspect Who Fired Gunshots in Neighborhood

Hampton Township, N.J. – The New Jersey State Police is seeking the public’s assistance with identifying a suspect who fired multiple gunshots in Hampton Township, Sussex County.

On Monday, June 1, at approximately 1:20 a.m., troopers responded to Halsey Road and Garrett Drive for the report of gunshots fired in the area. When troopers arrived, they observed a street sign that was spray painted with the letters “BLM” and a white male walking north on Halsey Road. As troopers attempted to speak with the man, he ran into an open field where he dropped his cell phone.

Through various investigative means, troopers were able to identify Jacob Drelich, 26, of Newton, N.J. as the suspect who fled the scene. On Tuesday, June 2, Mr. Drelich reported to Sussex Station where he admitted his involvement in defacing the street sign the previous night. After an interview with State Police detectives, it was determined that Mr. Drelich was not considered a suspect in the shooting investigation.

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Registered Sex Offender From Oklahoma Arrested for Allegedly Traveling to New Jersey with Plan to Sexually Assault Two Girls

TRENTON – Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal and Colonel Patrick J. Callahan today announced that a registered sex offender has been arrested after he allegedly traveled from Oklahoma to New Jersey to meet two men who had offered him access to underage girls for sex. In reality the defendant had been communicating with two undercover detectives from the New Jersey State Police and U.S. Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Aaron Craiger, 33, was arrested on Wednesday, March 18, by detectives from the New Jersey State Police and special agents from HSI at a motel in Atlantic City where he had stayed overnight after traveling by bus from his home state of Oklahoma. He allegedly planned to meet the two men on Wednesday so he could sexually assault two underage victims. Craiger believed that one man was bringing his 12-year-old daughter for sex, and the second man was bringing his girlfriend’s 11-year-old daughter. Craiger had condoms with him, as well as a small amount of marijuana, which he had said that he wanted to smoke with the girls. In text exchanges with the undercover detectives, Craiger allegedly detailed the sexual acts he wanted to perform with the girls. He allegedly sent them 10 files of child pornography, and child pornography was found on his phone when he was arrested.
New Jersey State Police and U.S. Homeland Security Investigations arrest man in undercover investigation targeting sexual predators using the internet to locate victims

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Owner of School Bus Company Charged with Contract Fraud for Covering Up Use of Unqualified Drivers with Criminal Records to Transport Children

TRENTON – Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal today announced criminal charges against the owner of a Paterson-based school bus company, its manager, and the company itself for allegedly providing false information to school districts in connection with contracts in order to cover up the fact that the company hired unqualified drivers, failed to conduct mandatory drug testing and criminal background checks for drivers and aides, and operated unsafe buses, all in violation of contract terms and state requirements.

The owner, Shelim Khalique, 51, of Wayne, N.J., the manager, Henry Rhodes, 56, of Paterson, N.J., and the company, A-1 Elegant Tours, Inc., d/b/a Eastern Star Transportation, LLC, (“A-1”), were each charged today by complaint-summons with the following offenses:

  • Conspiracy (2nd Degree),
  • False Representations for a Government Contract (2nd Degree),
  • Theft by Deception (2nd Degree), and
  • Tampering with Public Records or Information (3rd Degree).
  • Khalique and Rhodes were also charged with Misconduct by a Corporate Official (2nd Degree).

Personnel files seized last year during execution of a search warrant revealed that A-1 employed numerous drivers who did not have valid commercial driver’s licenses or required endorsements, had suspended licenses, and/or had criminal records. A-1 also employed bus aides with criminal records. A number of files were missing mandatory records of fingerprinting, background checks, and drug testing.

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Attorney General’s Office Investigating Fatal Police-Involved Shooting in Wayne, N.J.

TRENTON – The Attorney General’s Office is conducting an investigation of a fatal officer-involved shooting that occurred yesterday, April 26, in Wayne, N.J. One male civilian sustained fatal injuries.

The decedent has been identified as Bradley G. Pullman, 48, of Beacon, N.Y.

The investigation is being conducted by the Integrity Bureau within the Office of Public Integrity and Accountability and

the New Jersey State Police Major Crime Bureau.

According to the preliminary investigation, at approximately 4:38 p.m., a marked police vehicle of the Mountain Lakes Police Department attempted to conduct a motor vehicle stop of a Lexus sedan that performed an illegal U-turn. The car did not stop and a pursuit ensued through multiple municipalities. The Fairfield Police Department and Wayne Police Department assisted in the pursuit, which ended in Wayne at the interchange of U.S. Route 46, Route 23 and Interstate 80, when multiple police officers fired at the suspect, fatally wounding him. A .380-caliber pistol was recovered from Pullman’s vehicle. Pullman was pronounced dead at the scene.

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Attorney General’s Office Investigating Fatal Police-Involved Shooting in Paterson

PATERSON, N.J. – The Attorney General’s Office is conducting an investigation of a fatal officer-involved shooting that occurred shortly after 1 a.m. this morning on 16th Avenue in Paterson, N.J. One male civilian sustained fatal injuries.

The investigation is being conducted by the Integrity Bureau within the Office of Public Integrity and Accountability and the New Jersey State Police Major Crime Bureau.

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Attorney General’s Office Investigating Death of Man Following Arrest Today in Totowa, N.J.

TOTOWA, N.J. – The Attorney General’s Office is conducting an investigation into the death of a 51-year-old man, who died earlier today after he was arrested by a New Jersey state trooper during a motor vehicle stop outside the State Police Totowa Substation. The man was placed under arrest after the state trooper discovered suspected narcotics in his vehicle.

The man suffered an undetermined medical emergency shortly after being arrested at approximately 11:30 a.m., and being placed in the back of a police vehicle. The trooper, as well as other responding troopers and paramedics, administered medical aid and the man was transported to St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center in Paterson, where he was pronounced dead at approximately 1:05 p.m. The identity of the decedent is not being released at this time.

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AG Grewal Outlines Process for Revising New Jersey’s Use of Force PolicyInitiative to Include Statewide Listening Sessions, Online Public Comment Website

TRENTON – Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal today outlined plans for revising New Jersey’s “Use of Force Policy,” which governs when the state’s 36,000 law enforcement officers may—and may not—use force against civilians. As part of that process, Attorney General Grewal announced that his office has launched an online portal for public comments and will be organizing community listening sessions in all 21 counties.

On June 2, 2020, Attorney General Grewal first announced his intention to revise the Use of Force Policy, the first update in two decades. The initiative is part of the Attorney General’s Excellence in Policing initiative, a sweeping set of policing reforms launched in December 2019 to promote the culture of professionalism, accountability, and transparency that is the hallmark of New Jersey’s best law enforcement agencies.

“The Use of Force Policy affects everyone, and so everyone should have the opportunity to weigh in on its revisions,” said Attorney General Grewal. “We want to hear from a broad cross-section of our state: police officers, civil rights advocates, religious leaders, victims’ rights organizations, and community members. We especially want to hear from those that have had negative experiences with law enforcement officers because we are committed to getting this right. By engaging residents across New Jersey, we will ensure that the updated policy reflects New Jersey’s values.”

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AG Grewal, Division of Consumer Affairs Warn of False Claims, Scams in the Sale and Administration of COVID-19 and COVID-19 Antibody Tests

NEWARK – As testing for COVID-19 and COVID-19 antibodies continue to become more widely available, Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal and the Division of Consumer Affairs (“the Division”) today warned consumers to beware of false or misleading claims in the sale or administration of COVID-19 tests and COVID-19 antibody tests, and other deceptive practices related to testing.

“As public access to COVID-19 and COVID-19 antibody testing increases, so do opportunities for unscrupulous individuals to make money by exploiting people’s confusion and fears,” said Attorney General Grewal. “We’re urging consumers to do their homework, understand the types of tests being marketed, and recognize what those tests can and cannot do, so they don’t fall victim to false promises and outright scams.”

Last week the Division sent cease-and-desist letters to a Morris County health club and a Passaic County dentist warning them against making false or misleading claims in the sale of antibody, or “serological,” tests for COVID-19. These investigations and other similar investigations remain ongoing, so the Division is not releasing the names of the letters’ recipients at this time.

Antibody testing differs from diagnostic testing in that antibody testing is intended to determine if you possess antibodies to the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19, which indicates past exposure to the virus. Diagnostic testing is intended to determine if you currently have the diseas

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AG Grewal: Division of Consumer Affairs Gives “A Hero’s Welcome to New Jersey” for Military Spouses and Veterans Seeking Professional Licenses

NEWARK – As the nation celebrates Military Appreciation Month, Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal and the Division of Consumer Affairs today announced the launch of new program aimed at providing smooth transitions for military families and veterans relocating to New Jersey.

The program, “A Hero’s Welcome to New Jersey.” helps military spouses who hold professional licenses in other States become licensed in New Jersey, so they can quickly find work in their chosen professions when relocating. The program also assists veterans obtain licensure for post-military careers in New Jersey.

“We owe a debt of gratitude to the members of the military who heroically put their lives on the line to serve our country, and to their families, who are just as dedicated to that service. As military families, they’re frequently called on to uproot their lives and rebuild them in new, unfamiliar places,” said Attorney General Grewal. “Today New Jersey is expressing its gratitude to them by launching a program that will provide them with the assistance they need to quickly settle in as New Jersey residents and pursue their own careers here.”

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AG Grewal Announces Settlement with Santander in Multi-state Investigation of Allegedly Predatory Subprime Auto Lending Practices
New Jersey and NJ Residents Will Receive Over $3 Million, in Addition to Loan Forgiveness, and Company Will Change Allegedly Predatory Lending

TRENTON – Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal announced today that Santander Consumer USA Inc. will pay the State of New Jersey approximately $589,142, provide New Jersey consumers $2.5 million in restitution, forgive the loans of more consumers, and modify its business practices as part of a settlement that resolves a multi-state investigation into Santander’s allegedly predatory auto lending practices.

Santander is one of the largest subprime auto lenders in the United States. Subprime auto lending targets higher-risk borrowers. The loans typically involve high interest rates and prolonged repayment plans, both of which increase the likelihood of borrower default. About 82 percent of Santander’s retail auto loans are considered subprime, and between 2013 and 2015, roughly half of Santander’s subprime auto loan borrowers defaulted.

New Jersey was part of the Executive Committee spearheading the investigation of allegations that Santander typically failed to require proof of income when considering loan applications; failed to conduct meaningful oversight of conduct by auto dealers, increasing the number of loans founded on false information; and often extended loans that were unaffordable over the life of the loan. Illinois served as the lead state, with California, Maryland, Oregon and Washington rounding out the Executive Committee.

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AG Grewal Announces Action to Reduce Risk of Fatal Overdoses During COVID-19 CrisisAdministrative Order from Division of Consumer Affairs Requires NJ Practitioners to Co-Prescribe Naloxone to Certain At-Risk Opioid Patients During COVID-19 Emergency

TRENTON – Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal, the New Jersey Coordinator for Addiction Responses and Enforcement Strategies (“NJ CARES”), and the Division of Consumer Affairs today announced that New Jersey physicians, dentists, and other healthcare practitioners who prescribe opioids for the management of chronic pain must also prescribe the opioid antidote naloxone to certain at-risk patients during the COVID-19 crisis.

Under an Administrative Order issued today, prescribers must co-prescribe naloxone to any patient continuously receiving opioids for chronic pain management if the patient has one or more prescriptions totaling 90 morphine milligram equivalents (MME) or more per day, or is concurrently taking an opioid and a benzodiazepine. These patients face heightened risk of a fatal overdose.

The Administrative Order aligns with a rule proposed by the State Board of Medical Examiners on April 6, 2020. That proposed rule, published in the New Jersey Register on April 6, 2020, is open for public comment until June 5, 2020.

The Administrative Order also applies to prescribers licensed by the State Boards of Dentistry, Nursing and Optometrists. These Boards have approved proposed amendments to their rules that are substantively identical to the co-prescribing rule proposed by the State Board of Medical Examiners but have not yet published the proposals in the New Jersey Register.

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AG Grewal Announces Action by Division of Consumer Affairs to Pave Pathway for Healthcare Providers to Resume Routine Care and Elective Procedures

NEWARK – Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal announced today that the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs (“the Division”) has issued policies to allow healthcare professionals to resume non-urgent care and elective procedures in outpatient settings, as the State loosens restrictions put in place early in the battle against COVID-19. The Division’s policies, contained in an Administrative Order issued yesterday, identify precautions and limitations to protect patients, practitioners, and office staff from the continued risks posed by COVID-19.

The Division’s action comes after Governor Phil Murphy on Friday issued Executive Order No. 145, which allows elective surgeries and invasive procedures, whether medical or dental, to resume effective Tuesday, May 26, 2020, at 5:00 a.m. A previous Executive Order has prohibited all elective surgeries and invasive procedures performed on adults since March 27, 2020, in order to preserve personal protective equipment and protect the capacity of the State’s healthcare system.

The Division’s policies require practitioners to limit person-to-person contact in the office, facilitate social distancing in the office, adopt enhanced office cleaning and disinfection practices, establish rigorous protections for staff, and stay informed about new developments and guidance related to COVID-19. Additional safeguards apply to healthcare professionals providing care that involves direct contact with a patient’s face, eyes, or mouth, or present a high risk of aerosolization, including dentists, oral surgeons, pulmonologists, otolaryngologists and eye care professionals.

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AG Grewal and Division of Consumer Affairs Announce Health and Safety Standards for Reopening Hair Salons, Barbershops, Nail Salons, Electrology Offices and Massage Establishments

NEWARK – Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal announced today that the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs (“the Division”) has established health and safety standards at reopening hair salons, barbershops, nail salons, massage establishments, and other locations offering personal care services. The standards are meant to protect customers, as well as licensed professionals and staff, by reducing the continued risks posed by COVID-19.

The Division’s action comes after Governor Phil Murphy signed Executive Order No. 154 allowing hair salons, barber shops, nail salons, massage establishments and electrology offices, as well as spas, tattoo parlors and tanning salons, to reopen to the public on June 22, 2020. These facilities have been closed to the public since March under Executive Order No. 107, which also closed other businesses, restricted travel, and required social distancing.

The Division’s order requires cosmetology, massage, and bodywork businesses overseen by its licensing boards to take certain steps to prepare for reopening to minimize person-to-person contact and to follow protocols for scheduling appointments, screening clients and staff prior to entry to the facility, use of personal protective equipment by clients and staff, adopting enhanced cleaning and disinfection practices, and staying informed about new developments and guidance related to COVID-19.

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AG Grewal and Colonel Callahan Issue Weekly Round-Up on COVID-19 Enforcement Matters

TRENTON – Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal and Colonel Patrick J. Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police, today announced enforcement highlights from the past week, including violations of Governor Murphy’s Executive Orders.The Attorney General also announced enforcement actions targeting price-gouging, consumer fraud violations, and alcoholic beverage control violations.

“We’re cracking down on those who jeopardize public health and undermine public safety,” said Attorney General Grewal. “We have zero patience for those who spit on cops, gouge prices, or try to exploit this pandemic for their personal gain.”

“Although law enforcement and medical professionals are on the frontlines of the battle against COVID-19, we are ultimately winning the war because of the extraordinary resolve and fortitude of New Jersey citizens who are doing their part day in and day out, abiding by the executive orders and sacrificing for the greater good,” said Colonel Patrick Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police.“Those who choose to ignore the law and selfishly place others at risk will face swift law enforcement action.”

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AG Grewal and Col. Callahan Issue Weekly Round-Up on COVID-19 Enforcement Matters

TRENTON – Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal and Colonel Patrick J. Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police, today announced enforcement actions from the past week, including coughing and spitting assaults and noteworthy violations of Governor Murphy’s Executive Orders. The Attorney General also announced enforcement actions targeting price-gouging, consumer fraud violations, and alcoholic beverage control violations.

“We’re cracking down on those who jeopardize public health and undermine public safety,” said Attorney General Grewal. “We have zero patience for those who spit on cops, gouge prices, or try to exploit this pandemic for their personal gain.”

“Although law enforcement and medical professionals are on the frontlines of the battle against COVID-19, we are ultimately winning the war because of the extraordinary resolve and fortitude of New Jersey citizens who are doing their part day in and day out, abiding by the executive orders and sacrificing for the greater good,” said Colonel Patrick Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. “Those who choose to ignore the law and selfishly place others at risk will face swift law enforcement action.”

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AG Grewal and Colonel Callahan Announce Charges Against 10 Additional Members of Caravan That Confronted and Shot New Jersey State Trooper

TRENTON – Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal and New Jersey State Police Superintendent Colonel Patrick J. Callahan today announced arrests and charges involving 10 new defendants who allegedly were part of the hostile mob that confronted and shot a New Jersey State Trooper on the evening of Saturday, April 25, in Pittsgrove, N.J.

The following persons were arrested this morning by the New Jersey State Police, with the exception of Waters, who is being sought on an arrest warrant. All 10 were charged by the Office of Public Integrity and Accountability with conspiracy to commit aggravated assault (2nd degree) and rioting (3rd degree).

  1. Ashley Diaz-Acevedo, 22, of Bridgeton, N.J.
  2. Melissa Romero, 22, of Bridgeton, N.J.
  3. Noel Lazu, 20, of Bridgeton, N.J.
  4. Markese Rogers, 25, of Pittsgrove, N.J.
  5. Aisha McArthur, 25, of Vineland, N.J.
  6. Rovell L. McArthur Jr., 26, of Vineland, N.J.
  7. Jenislen Quiles, 19, of Bridgeton, N.J.
  8. Shakeem Waters, 31, of Bridgeton, N.J.
  9. Thomas Nieves III, 30, of Bridgeton, N.J.
  10. Chayana Diaz, 22, of Bridgeton, N.J.

It is alleged that these defendants were part of a five-car caravan that went to the Harding Woods mobile home park in Pittsgrove intending to attack and injure a resident there and damage her home. Members of the caravan – including additional defendants charged previously – were armed with at least two handguns, one knife, and one bottle, and at least three fired upon Detective Richard Hershey.

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AG Grewal and Colonel Callahan Announce Attempted Murder Charge Against Defendant Identified as Alleged Third Shooter in Ambush of State Trooper

TRENTON – Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal and New Jersey State Police Superintendent Colonel Patrick J. Callahan today announced that a third man has been charged with attempted murder in the shooting of a New Jersey State Trooper on the evening of Saturday, April 25, in Pittsgrove, N.J.

Kareen “Kai” Warner Jr., 19, of Bridgeton, N.J. – who was arrested on April 26 and charged with second-degree unlawful possession of a weapon in connection with the shooting – was charged today with being a third shooter who fired at Detective Richard Hershey. A new complaint was filed today charging Warner with attempted murder (1st degree), aggravated assault on a police officer (2nd degree), and possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose (2nd degree). A detention hearing was held this afternoon for Warner and he was ordered detained in the Salem County Jail pending trial.

Two other men alleged to have fired upon Detective Hershey were previously arrested and charged with attempted murder, aggravated assault on a police officer, and weapons offenses:

  • Najzeir “Naz” Hutchings, 21, of Bridgeton, N.J., and
  • Tremaine M. Hadden, 27, of Bridgeton, N.J.
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    AG Grewal Announces Voting Fraud Charges Against
    Paterson Councilman Michael Jackson, Councilman-Elect
    Alex Mendez, and Two Other Men

    TRENTON – Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal today announced voting fraud charges against Paterson City Councilman Michael Jackson, Councilman-Elect Alex Mendez, and two other men in connection with the May 12, 2020 special election in the City of Paterson.

    All four men are charged with criminal conduct involving mail-in ballots during the election. The investigation by the Attorney General’s Office of Public Integrity & Accountability (OPIA) began when the U.S. Postal Inspection Service alerted the Attorney General’s Office that hundreds of mail-in ballots were found in a mailbox in Paterson. Numerous additional ballots were found in a mailbox in nearby Haledon. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all voting in May 12 elections in New Jersey was done by mail-in ballots.

    “Today’s charges send a clear message: if you try to tamper with an election in New Jersey, we will find you and we will hold you accountable,” said Attorney General Grewal. “We will not allow a small number of criminals to undermine the public’s confidence in our democratic process.”

    “The residents of New Jersey have a right to free and fair elections, and we will ensure that happens,” said OPIA Director Thomas Eicher. “Our office’s criminal investigations complement a number of other safeguards that New Jersey has implemented to ensure the integrity of our elections.”

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    Owner of School Bus Company Charged with Contract Fraud for Covering Up Use of Unqualified Drivers with Criminal Records to Transport Children

    TRENTON – Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal today announced criminal charges against the owner of a Paterson-based school bus company, its manager, and the company itself for allegedly providing false information to school districts in connection with contracts in order to cover up the fact that the company hired unqualified drivers, failed to conduct mandatory drug testing and criminal background checks for drivers and aides, and operated unsafe buses, all in violation of contract terms and state requirements.

    The owner, Shelim Khalique, 51, of Wayne, N.J., the manager, Henry Rhodes, 56, of Paterson, N.J., and the company, A-1 Elegant Tours, Inc., d/b/a Eastern Star Transportation, LLC, (“A-1”), were each charged today by complaint-summons with the following offenses:

    • Conspiracy (2nd Degree),
    • False Representations for a Government Contract (2nd Degree),
    • Theft by Deception (2nd Degree), and
    • Tampering with Public Records or Information (3rd Degree).

    Khalique and Rhodes were also charged with Misconduct by a Corporate Official (2nd Degree).

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    TRENTON – Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal today announced criminal charges against the owner of a Paterson-based school bus company, its manager, and the company itself for allegedly providing false information to school districts in connection with contracts in order to cover up the fact that the company hired unqualified drivers, failed to conduct mandatory drug testing and criminal background checks for drivers and aides, and operated unsafe buses, all in violation of contract terms and state requirements.

    Attorney General’s Office Investigating Death of Man Following Arrest Today in Totowa, N.J.

    TOTOWA, N.J. – The Attorney General’s Office is conducting an investigation into the death of a 51-year-old man, who died earlier today after he was arrested by a New Jersey state trooper during a motor vehicle stop outside the State Police Totowa Substation. The man was placed under arrest after the state trooper discovered suspected narcotics in his vehicle.

    The man suffered an undetermined medical emergency shortly after being arrested at approximately 11:30 a.m., and being placed in the back of a police vehicle. The trooper, as well as other responding troopers and paramedics, administered medical aid and the man was transported to St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center in Paterson, where he was pronounced dead at approximately 1:05 p.m. The identity of the decedent is not being released at this time.

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    AG Grewal Releases Guidance on Municipal Court Prosecutions of COVID-19 Related Offenses

    TRENTON – Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal today released guidance addressing prosecutions of COVID-19 related offenses, which is designed to ensure that there is accuracy, uniformity and consistency by municipal prosecutors and in municipal courts throughout the state.

    “While the vast majority of New Jersey residents followed the Governor’s Executive Orders and helped us to slow the spread of COVID-19 and save lives, and continue to do so, some did not,” said Attorney General Grewal. “We have a duty as law enforcement officers to bring violators to justice, and to do so in a way that ensures uniformity. We also have a responsibility to exercise discretion in the interests of justice, including to use diversion programs and community court if available. My guidance today advises municipal prosecutors on the best ways to achieve those important goals of uniformity and consistency, deterrence, and responsible discretion.”

    The guidance emphasizes that no municipal prosecutor may adopt a categorical policy or practice of refusing to enforce COVID-19 related charges, but provides a significant number of options for the exercise of prosecutorial discretion in individual cases to achieve the interests of justice. The guidance notes that a categorical policy of refusing to enforce such charges would be inappropriate because each charge had already been reviewed and approved by a designated county prosecutor or assistant prosecutor—as the Attorney General previously required—and also that such a policy would lead to disparate administration of these laws.

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    AG Grewal: NJ Sues U.S. Department of Education to Block Repeal of “Gainful Employment” Rule’s Protections for Student Borrowers

    TRENTON – Acting to protect New Jersey students from ending up with unmanageable student loan debt and little earning potential, Attorney Gurbir S. Grewal today announced that New Jersey is joining a coalition of States suing the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) over its repeal of its Gainful Employment Rule.

    Adopted during the Obama Administration, the Gainful Employment Rule sought to promote accountability and transparency among for-profit colleges and other career-focused, non-degree programs. The rule denied federal funding to programs that leave students with poor earnings prospects and high amounts of debt, while requiring schools to provide consumers with key information about programs’ costs and their graduates’ earnings and debt.

    Filed today in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., the lawsuit challenges DOE’s July 2019 decision to repeal the Gainful Employment Rule. The repeal will take effect on July 1, 2020.

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    AG Grewal Leads Multi-State Lawsuit Against U.S. Department of Education and Secretary Betsy DeVos over Title IX Rule that Weakens Students’ Protections Against Sexual Violence and Harassment

    TRENTON – Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal today led a multi-state coalition in suing to block a new Title IX regulation from the U.S. Department of Education that would significantly weaken federal protections for students from sexual violence and harassment in education.

    With an effective date of August 14, 2020, the new rules have K-12 schools, colleges, and universities scrambling to revise their long-standing sexual harassment policies for the coming academic year – all while dealing simultaneously with issues raised by the COVID-19 pandemic.

    If the new rules take effect, the federal government will no longer require schools to address some types of sexual violence and harassment that they previously were required to investigate. The new rules also will deter students from complaining to their schools about sexual violence and harassment, will make it more costly for schools to prevent and remedy such misconduct, and likely will mean that schools discipline a smaller percentage of students who engage in misconduct.

    A total of 17 states and the District of Columbia are plaintiffs in the lawsuit, which was filed today in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro and California Attorney General Xavier Becerra are co-leading the lawsuit with Attorney General Grewal.

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    AG Grewal Kicks Off Statewide Initiative with Listening Session on Use of Force Policy

    TRENTON – As the COVID-19 pandemic continues and social distancing measures remain in effect, Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal recently announced a series of virtual meetings that, despite the public health crisis, will provide an opportunity for continued community engagement with law enforcement.

    The tenth virtual meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, June 24, at 12 p.m. The session will be an online forum to discuss New Jersey’s current Use of Force Policy and describe some of the revisions under consideration. The Attorney General will be joined by Jonathan Parham, who previously served as the Chief of the Linden Police Department and now serves as the Director of Countywide Police Policy, Planning, and Training at the Union County Prosecutor’s Office, Jiles H. Ship, Commissioner, New Jersey Police Training Commission and President, National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE), New Jersey Chapter and Quovella Spruill, Director of Public Safety, Franklin Township Police Department and Executive Vice President, NOBLE, New Jersey Chapter.

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    AG Grewal Issues Directive to Law Enforcement on Appropriate Use of COVID-19 Information from Public Health Officers

    TRENTON—Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal today issued a directive to law enforcement officers across New Jersey to provide clear guidance on appropriate use of information from local public health officers about positive COVID-19 tests in order to safeguard the health of officers while also protecting the privacy of those who are ill.

    Over the last number of days, law enforcement agencies raised concerns with the Attorney General about the need for limited information regarding addresses where an individual has tested positive for COVID-19, to better ensure that officers can appropriately protect their health and safety when responding to calls at those addresses. To address these concerns, the Attorney General’s office immediately engaged with the New Jersey Department of Health (DOH). In response, on March 18, 2020, DOH issued a memorandum to all local public health officers instructing them to share such limited information about addresses where an individual has tested positive for COVID-19 (but not the names of any individual), as authorized by the State’s Emergency Health Powers Act, but at the same time restricting the use and dissemination of that information.

    Our police officers are courageously stepping up to protect the public—faced with the coronavirus as well as the ever present dangers of their jobs—and they deserve all the help we can offer to keep them healthy,” said Attorney General Grewal. “By alerting officers as to these risks, we enable them to guard their own health and make the best possible use of our limited supplies of personal protective gear. Make no mistake, our officers will respond to every call for service, regardless of the threat, but this directive and the Department of Health’s memo will ensure that they are better prepared to keep everyone safe, and that they fully maintain the confidentiality of those who are ill.”

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    If You Threaten a Cop with COVID-19, You Will Face the Maximum Criminal Charges
    AG’s Office Brings Enhanced Criminal Charges Against Six Individuals Who Spat or Coughed at Officers and Threatened Them with COVID-19

    TRENTON – Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal today announced that the Attorney General’s Office has taken over prosecution of six cases and is filing upgraded charges against defendants who allegedly threatened police officers by spitting or coughing at them and claiming to have COVID-19.

    “Last week, I said the time for warnings is over and those violating the COVID-19 emergency orders will face strong law enforcement action,” said Attorney General Grewal. “Police all across New Jersey are making good on that vow by charging violators with crimes. Now, with the cases being announced today, we’re letting our dedicated officers know that we have their backs as they work tirelessly to maintain public safety and health at this difficult time.”

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    AG Grewal: COVID-19 Is No Excuse for Discrimination or Harassment
    Division on Civil Rights Issues COVID-19 Guidance on New Jersey’s Law Against Discrimination and Family Leave Act

    TRENTON – Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal and the Division on Civil Rights today issued new guidance addressing questions related to COVID-19 and the rights of New Jersey residents under New Jersey’s Law Against Discrimination (LAD) and Family Leave Act (FLA).

    “COVID-19 is no excuse for racism, xenophobia, or hate,” said Attorney General Grewal. “Discrimination and harassment in violation of New Jersey law remains illegal even if it occurs against the backdrop of a global pandemic. Now, more than ever, we should recognize that we’re all in this together. Words and actions that divide us won’t make any of us safer or stronger.”

    “We must not let ignorance or fear around COVID-19 lead to stereotyping and prejudice,” said DCR Director Rachel Wainer Apter. “COVID-19 does not discriminate based on race, national origin, religion, or disability. Yet there have been disturbing reports of discrimination and harassment targeting Asian people and people with actual or perceived disabilities, as well as other racial and religious discrimination arising from COVID-19. Today’s guidance addresses this kind of discrimination and harassment, and also explains when employees may be eligible to take job-protected leave in connection with the virus.”

    DCR is also offering guidance on COVID-19-related discrimination in places of public accommodation. The guidance explains that a school, for example, may be liable under the LAD for failing to investigate or take action in the face of reports that a student was being harassed based on race or national origin over COVID-19. Likewise, a public bus driver or bus company, for example, may be required to take reasonable action to stop harassment of one passenger by another.

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    AG Grewal Announces Voting Fraud Charges Against Paterson Councilman Michael Jackson, Councilman-Elect Alex Mendez, and Two Other Men

    TRENTON – Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal today announced voting fraud charges against Paterson City Councilman Michael Jackson, Councilman-Elect Alex Mendez, and two other men in connection with the May 12, 2020 special election in the City of Paterson.

    All four men are charged with criminal conduct involving mail-in ballots during the election. The investigation by the Attorney General’s Office of Public Integrity & Accountability (OPIA) began when the U.S. Postal Inspection Service alerted the Attorney General’s Office that hundreds of mail-in ballots were found in a mailbox in Paterson. Numerous additional ballots were found in a mailbox in nearby Haledon. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all voting in May 12 elections in New Jersey was done by mail-in ballots.

    “The residents of New Jersey have a right to free and fair elections, and we will ensure that happens,” said OPIA Director Thomas Eicher. “Our office’s criminal investigations complement a number of other safeguards that New Jersey has implemented to ensure the integrity of our elections.”

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    AG Grewal Announces Criminal Charges Against Additional Defendant in Major Corruption Investigation

    TRENTON – Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal today announced charges against an attorney stemming from a major corruption probe by the Office of Public Integrity and Accountability (OPIA) that previously led to five former public officials and political candidates in New Jersey being charged with taking bribes.

    Elizabeth Valandingham, 47, of Morristown, N.J., was served with complaint-summonses on Wednesday, June 17, charging her with second-degree false representation for government contracts and second-degree misconduct by a corporate official. Click here to view complaints.

    The charges against Valandingham relate to alleged conduct between 2012 and 2017 at the law firm where she worked.One of her duties at the law firm was to prepare and submit annual proposals to various municipalities in order for the firm to garner public contracts for legal services.

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    AG Grewal Announces Arrests of 16 Members & Associates of Violent Trenton-Based “Get Money Boys” Gang Linked to Four Shootings in Last 10 Months
    Charges Include Murder of 32-Year-Old Man, Attempted Murder of Police Officer

    TRENTON – Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal today announced first-degree criminal charges against 16 alleged members and associates of the “Get Money Boys” or “GMB,” a violent street gang linked to multiple shootings, including the December 2019 murder of Michael Barnes, a 32-year-old Trenton man, and the February 2020 attempted murder of a police officer.

    Fifteen GMB members and associates, including its alleged leader, Charles Willis, 27, are charged with first-degree racketeering, and 10 GMB members, including Willis, are charged with either murder, attempted murder, or conspiracy to commit murder. As alleged in court documents, Willis and GMB engaged in violent criminal conduct in furtherance of their heroin and cocaine distribution activities in the area of the Oakland Street Apartments in Trenton.

    “Gang violence has taken the lives of too many young people in Trenton, and the Get Money Boys have been a major contributor to that violence,” said Attorney General Grewal. “We will continue doing everything we can to make our capital city safe for its residents.”

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    AG Grewal and NJSACOP President Chief Christopher Leusner Featured in Debut Webcast of “Resilient Minds On The Front Lines”
    – Series of webcasts will promote mindfulness, wellness and resiliency for all workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 Pandemic