4 Newark police officers, including a Lieutenant, charged with falsifying records

Kimberly Dole
April 09, 2020 - 8:13 pm
Newark Police Car

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NEWARK, N.J. (1010 WINS) -- County prosecutors charged four Newark police officers on Thursday, for allegedly falsifying police records.

A Lieutenant was included among those officers charged, according to acting Essex County Prosecutor Theodore N. Stephens, II.

One officer, 55-year-old Michael Chirico, was also charged with driving under the influence.

Officials accuse Chirico of driving the wrong way down University Avenue, which is a one-way street and hitting a car driven by a woman with four children in the vehicle.

Lt. Norberto Soares, 42, Police Officer Erik Blount, 33, and Police Officer Tashia Jones, 35, were all charged with tampering with public records.

“The reprehensible behavior alleged to have occurred in this case undermines confidence in law enforcement, and gives a bad name to the vast majority of our officers who risk their lives each day to protect the public," the acting county prosecutor said. "Not only did these officers barhop around the City of Newark while on duty and in full uniform, but they lied in an attempt to cover it up. One officer’s conduct put innocent people at risk."

"The Essex County Prosecutor’s Office has a zero tolerance policy toward officers who violate their oath and the public trust that comes with it,” he added.

Authorities say that on Jan. 18, the officers knowingly made false entries in a government record or document with the purpose to defraud or injure another.

They also falsely reported responding to incidents when surveillance footage and other evidence showed the police officers were not present at the location as reported in the patrol logs.

The accused officers were instead at bars consuming alcohol while in uniform and on duty working for the Newark Police Department, according to officials.