Indictment Dropped Against Suspended Tuckerton Police Officer

Dec 06, 2017

The Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office dropped a four-count indictment of suspended Tuckerton police officer Corp. Justin Cherry on Thursday but is holding out the possibility of recharging Cherry on one count of misconduct.

The officer has been suspended without pay relating to an incident in January 2014 when he allowed his police dog, Officer Gunner, to subdue a 57-year-old woman in Barnegat. Wendy Tucker was allegedly under the influence and eluded capture by Cherry, taking him on a wild ride from Tuckerton to Barnegat. Earlier in the evening Cherry had responded to a Tuckerton residence where he was asked to remove her because she was unwelcome. Cherry and another officer learned her license was suspended and told her not to drive, but soon after, Cherry saw her driving on Route 9 and followed her, trying to get her to pull over. In Barnegat, two Barnegat officers and Cherry waited for her to finally park her car and then attempted to arrest her.

The Asbury Park Press has obtained and published on its website Cherry’s dash camera footage, which shows a Barnegat officer pulling Tucker from her parked car and Cherry arriving with his dog, which proceeds to bite her on the back of her coat as she is lying on the ground while the Barnegat officer tries to handcuff both her arms.

On Thursday, Cherry’s attorney, Tracey Riley, contended that Prosecutor Michael Paulhus withheld evidence from the grand jury that showed Tucker was treated in an emergency room for a dislocated shoulder, but not treated for dog bites.

A different assistant prosecutor, Michael Weatherstone, was representing the prosecutor’s office in Superior Court on Thursday.

Tucker has since pleaded guilty to eluding police and was sentenced to 180 days in jail with all but five days suspended. Tucker has a civil lawsuit pending against Tuckerton borough, Cherry and Barnegat Township. —P.J.



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