Bayonne Briefs

A crane at a construction site between 22nd and 23rd streets.
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A crane at a construction site between 22nd and 23rd streets.

Former Bayonne police officer sentenced to 42 months in prison

Domenico Lillo, a former Bayonne police officer, was sentenced to 42 months in prison, three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay $20,000 in restitution to the city of Bayonne on Nov. 19 for using excessive force during an arrest, falsifying records in attempt to conceal his conduct, and helping a relative fraudulently obtain a home rehabilitation loan. According to video footage, the officer struck a handcuffed man in the head with a flashlight, resulting in 15 stitches.

On December 27, 2013, Bayonne Police Officers Domenico Lillo, Francis Styles, and James Wade arrived at the residence of Brandon Walsh to arrest him on a warrant from Sussex County for failing to appear in court. Video footage captured Lillo striking Walsh in the head with a flashlight after Walsh was handcuffed and not resisting. Lillo later resigned from the department.

“I stand before you with much sorrow and regret … Not only did I ruin my own life, but I also ruined the lives of others,” Lillo stated during his sentencing on Nov. 26, according to NJ Advance Media. “I’d first like to apologize to my wife and daughter, next to the citizens of Bayonne – who I swore to protect and not harm. I’d also like to apologize to all of my colleagues I used to work with.”

Walsh and his family were not specifically named in the apology.

According to the Walsh family’s federal lawsuit, Lillo and other officers unnecessarily and without warning pepper-sprayed them when they entered the home causing everyone, including children, a disabled woman, and the family dog, to become “violently ill.” Walsh and members of his family sued the city and were awarded at least $1.6 million.

“This is an assault on a helpless man by a police officer,” the judge said at the sentencing. “This is a very serious offense indeed, from my point of view.”

Bayonne police most likely in county to use force in arrests

Bayonne police officers use force while arresting people in 73.8 times per 1,000 incidents, according to a database published by NJ Advance Media, the highest rate in Hudson County. Police departments in Bayonne, West New York, and Hoboken are among the 30 departments with the highest rates of use of force in the state.

Hudson County CASA is seeking volunteers

Learn how to become a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) volunteer and help foster children find safe and permanent homes. The next information session will be held at Little City Books at 100 Bloomfield St., Hoboken on Tuesday, December 11 at 7 p.m.

Hudson County Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) is a non-profit organization committed to advocating for the best interests of abused and neglected children. CASA works through trained community volunteers to ensure that needed services and assistance are made available to children while helping to move them toward safe and permanent homes. Hudson County CASA volunteers are everyday people who make a direct impact in foster children’s lives. They are trusted, dedicated adults who seek to improve children’s well-being. CASA volunteers get to know their assigned child and his or her circumstances and provide valuable information to the court. Judges rely on the volunteers’ recommendations to make the best decisions about the children’s futures.

For further information, visit www.hudsoncountycasa.org

Small business celebrated in Bergen Point

The Bergen Point Merchants Association, which includes several small businesses on Broadway in Bergen Point, are issuing “Bergen Point Passports” to residents as an incentive to shop locally throughout the holiday season. Passport holders receive discounts at participating businesses, which stamp the passport with a point value based on the amount of the purchase.

The passport holder with the most earned points will receive a TV as a prize. The second- place winner will receive a Bergen Point Gift Basket. The top winners will be determined by Christmas Eve at 3 p.m. The program goes from Nov. 24 through Dec. 24.

Mobile data service now available on PATH train

Cellular service for Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile is active in all PATH stations as of Nov. 21, according to the Port Authority.

The Port Authority is ahead of schedule as cellular service for PATH stations was supposed to be available in early 2019. Earlier in November, the PA announced AT&T and T-Mobile coverage in its New York PATH stations.

Cellular service for Sprint, however, remains uncovered.

Measure intended to coordinate surplus food donations advances in Assembly

Assembly Democrats William Spearman, Nicholas Chiaravalloti and Raj Mukherji issued a joint statement on legislation creating an online website to assist in coordinating surplus food donations among nonprofits, gleaners, and food retailers in the state

“Food waste or loss is a growing concern that affects the environment, the economy and the potential impact we can make on ending hunger in the state. Most food loss occurs at the production and retail level. Giving nonprofit organizations, farmers and retailers a way to collaborate surplus food donations will help reduce food loss tremendously in the state. With a more concerted effort, we can put more food into pantries and onto dining tables of New Jersey homes that are fighting hunger.”

More details on Jersey City’s suit vs. Port Authority

Jersey City’s $400 million lawsuit against the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is entering a new chapter. The two parties reached a preliminary settlement in March, but the city council has yet to vote on the issue. Though the Port Authority has denied any wrongdoing, under the settlement, it will pay $17.8 million to Jersey City to buy property for a PATH station, $1 million per year for an office building, and other costs.

Grewal announces immigration trust directive

Attorney General Gurbir Grewal revealed details about the Immigration Trust Directive on Thursday, November 29, at a press conference at Liberty State Park. Under the new rules, police officers are prohibited from stopping or detaining people for their immigration status. Police cannot turn over individuals to ICE except in cases of violent crime.

Former Hoboken mayor Peter Cammarano fined $95K

The New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission has fined former Hoboken Mayor Peter J. Cammarano III, as well as members of his 2009 mayoral slate, for not reporting more than $1 million in contributions, according to court documents. The fines, totaling $95,330, come more than nine years after Cammarano was arrested as part of a federal corruption sting that netted 46 high-profile arrests of public officials across the state.

State says food assistance now open to students

At Middlesex County College, state officials announced that the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps, will expand to recognize all approved Career and Technical Education Programs at NJ community colleges. Students who meet SNAP income eligibility standards and participate in these training programs will now have access to food assistance. In 2017, 67,000 students were enrolled in these career and technical education programs, with an estimated 45 percent considered low-income based on financial aid records, according to the Council on County Colleges. The changes will begin next month.

Murphy and public workers union agree to contract

Gov. Phil Murphy and the state’s largest corrections union have reached an agreement on a contract that restores pay raises for 5,200 workers. PBA Local 105 members have been working without a contract since 2015, when then-Gov. Chris Christie froze step increases for most of the state’s public workers. Under the new agreement, corrections officers will be bumped up to the appropriate step but will not receive the years’ worth of retroactive increments. They will be paid for step increases dating back to this July and receive bonuses for other missed increments. “I’m not grateful, I’m not satisfied, I’m not happy. I’m just pleased to close this chapter,” President Brian Renshaw told NJ Advance Media. The new contract will run through June 2019.

Probe finds NJ used cars dealers rife with abuses

A sector of the used-car business in New Jersey continues to be a haven for scams and deceitful practices and requires stronger legislation and enforcement, according to a report by a state commission released Tuesday. The report found that loosely regulated multi-dealer locations continue to defraud consumers using several methods, and it recommended stronger legislation to protect consumers. It noted that the state’s “lemon law” doesn’t cover vehicles sold for less than $3,000 or that are more than seven years old or that have been driven more than 100,000 miles. It also doesn’t cover cars sold “as is,” where defects are the buyer’s responsibility.

Legal marijuana bill passes committees, ready for floor

Committees from both the state Senate and Assembly approved the recreational marijuana bill, which now awaits a full vote in the state Legislature, according to The Record. The bill would: legalize the personal use of one ounce or less of marijuana for adults 21 years of age and older; create a 12 percent tax on the commercial marijuana industry; and speed up the expungement process for people who have prior arrests and convictions for possession or distributing small quantities of marijuana. The vote marks the first official action taken by the State Legislature on recreational marijuana since Murphy took office. On Monday, Murphy declined to say whether he’d support the bill. “It’s too early to tell,” he told NJ Advance Media. State Senate President Stephen Sweeney said the legislature would work to secure Murphy’s approval before taking the bill to a full floor vote.

Gov. Murphy wants $15 wage bill on desk by year’s end

Gov. Phil Murphy called on the legislature to pass a $15 minimum wage bill before the last voting session this year on Dec. 17. Still, New Jersey Business & Industry Association President Michele Siekerka voiced concerns about the impact a $15 minimum wage could have on small businesses, and said a phased-in approach would be better than an immediate jump, according to ROI-NJ. “It is important that the members of the Assembly have the opportunity to consider and debate the bill. I am confident that we will consider the legislation either later this year or in January,” tweeted Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin.

In October, the Hudson County Board of Freeholders raised the minimum wage for county workers to $15 per hour. In November, Hudson County Community College followed suit by raising wages for all nonunion employees to $15 per hour.

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