2015 Little Egg Harbor Police Shooting Investigation Still Under Review

Feb 08, 2017

The investigation into a fatal shooting by three police officers in Little Egg Harbor Township over a year ago is still at the attorney general’s office for review, township Police Chief Richard Buzby said Monday.

Meanwhile, the three officers are seeking retirement with accidental retirement pension benefits.

“The prosecutor’s office absolutely did the investigation. It was completed and forwarded to the attorney general’s office for their review,” said Buzby. The names of the officers have not been released as per guidelines adopted by the AG’s office, he added.

Twice the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office said it was not involved in the investigation and it was sent on to the attorney general’s office. The prosecutor’s office was not involved “because one of the officers (involved in the shooting) was also on the Ocean County SWAT team and that could be seen as a conflict,” said prosecutor’s office spokesman Al Della Fave Friday. Previously, the attorney general’s office denied that it had handled the investigation.

On Monday, Buzby said both agencies must have confused the Nov. 15, 2015 fatal police shooting of Francis Hartnett with the July 16, 2016 fatal shooting of retired New York City detective Patrick Fennell by the Ocean County SWAT team, also in Little Egg Harbor.

“We received the results of the investigation in March (last year) and the state has had it for months. They only have one shooting team in the state for all county and municipal reviews.

“The moment I can I will release all the details and I hope it’s quickly,” said Buzby. “We have been requesting an outcome for some time. I think if these matters are drawn out too long, it leads to public confusion.”

On Monday, the three officers were in Trenton in front of the pension office for a status review. Buzby was also at the review to testify on behalf of the officers for their accidental retirement pension consisting of two-thirds of their salaries.

“The (shooting) matter was not submitted to a grand jury,” the chief added.

— Pat Johnson



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