County Police Officers Accused of Lying, Tampering with Crime Scene

Two county officers indicted Monday on official misconduct charges for alleged cover-up following six-town police chase.

Two Bergen County police officers were indicted Monday on charges they worked to hide evidence and lied to investigators following a six-town car chase where one officer allegedly opened fire on a burglary suspect in Bogota. 

The seven count indictment alleges Bergen County Police Officer Saheed Baksh, 37, removed shell casings from a crime scene after he fired two shots at Francesco Piserchia, who authorities said led officers on a chase from Paramus to West Shore Avenue in Bogota. 

Although Baksh fired, Bergen County Prosecutor John L. Molinelli said the casings "which were originally observed at the shooting scene on West Shore Avenue" later went missing. 

Another county officer who responded, 52-year-old Jeffrey Roberts, failed to "maintain and preserve" the Bogota scene and allowed Baksh to remove evidence, the indictment alleges.

The two officers are accused of lying under to oath when they gave statements to prosecutor's office investigators probing the police-involved shooting. 

Police were chasing Piserchia after he fled a burglary in Paramus on Aug. 12, 2010, the prosecutor said. Baksh, the indictment alleges, shot at Piserchia as he fled a car in Bogota. Piserchia and another suspect, Carlos Camacho, were not hit. 

The indictment came after two lawsuits, one seeking $17 million from Bergen County filed by Piserchia and a whistleblower suit , the former head of internal affairs at the county police. 

Both suits allege county police officers sought to cover up the shooting. Piserchia also claimed he was surrendering when the officer opened fire. 

Molinelli's office has been unable to determine if the shooting was justified because the scene was tampered with, northjersey.com reported. 

Bergen County Executive Kathleen Donovan and Molinelli butted heads on the investigation before the prosecutor reopened an investigation into the incident. Molinelli told the Record he was displeased with how the county police handled its own internal review of the matter. Donovan initially said Molinelli was overstepping his authority before the prosecutor launched a criminal probe into the shooting. 

Roberts and Baksh were suspended without pay from the police department Monday, said Jeanne Baratta, Donovan's chief of staff. The officers posted bail and were released, county jail records show. 

Lawyers for Roberts and Baksh could not be reached for comment late Monday. 

An arraignment on charges including conspiracy to commit official misconduct, official misconduct and false swearing will be scheduled within the next six weeks, the prosecutor's office said. 

A copy of the indictment is attached to this article

Dick Gozinia August 28, 2012 at 11:04 AM
copy that vic
John Q. Public August 28, 2012 at 11:50 AM
Care to provide your source?
GL August 30, 2012 at 05:39 AM
I lost all faith in the county police when I received two traffic summons in the mail. It was a county sergeant who swore up in down in court that I was driving the car that cut him off while he was on his way to work (that's why they were mailed to me). I had to go to court to fight these charges because I wasn't even in the state at the time it took place I was 1400 miles away on business. I had airline receipts, car rental receipts, dinner receipts, even a letter from my company. The officer, prosecutor and even the judge said all my evidence was inadmissible in court. I would have to subpoena the airline, Car Company and all others as witnesses. Long story short his Id of the vehicle was the wrong color I brought photos of my car as well as evidence so I won the case. It still burns me up to this day how they tried to pin this on me and I had to prove my innocence when they should have had to prove my guilty as far as they were concerned I was guilty as soon as I walked into court. The officer lied under oath the prosecutor proceeded with a case that he knew was false and the judge went along with it I wonder how many other people have been railroaded over stupid cases like this so they can fill quotas and receive revenue for the county. They should do away with BCPD this just goes to show what a pack of liars they are and will do anything to keep the money flowing it. It’s sickening.
Dick Gozinia August 30, 2012 at 11:29 AM
amen to that "GL"
Really September 09, 2012 at 08:21 PM
How much money did Hudson County save when they got rid of their pd


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