N.J. Trooper Suspended For Threatening Women With Arrest Unless He Was Given Their Phone Number


For the second time in six months, a New Jersey state trooper has been suspended and criminally charged over claims he improperly pulled over women to ask them out, authorities said.

Trooper Eric Richardson, 31, was charged Wednesday with records tampering after an internal investigation found he had repeatedly pulled over two women, pressured them into engaging in romantic relationships and then lied on official paperwork to cover it up.

The accusations come as another trooper faces similar charges in an unrelated case. A State Police spokesman, Capt. Brian Polite, said the two cases were the result of internal investigations into allegations against troopers.

“We’re policing our own personnel,” he said. He declined to comment on the details of the Richardson case.

Between August 2016 and January of this year, police claim Richardson stopped the women on state roads and “harassed” them “about initiating a personal relationship,” according to a statement from the state Division of Criminal Justice, which brought the charges.

He is accused of attempting to “ingratiate” himself with the women by not impounding their unregistered vehicles.

In one case, authorities claim, Richardson pulled over a woman and, discovering she had an active warrant, threatened to arrest her unless she gave him her phone number. He is also accused of communicating with the women on social media and via text message.

The criminal charges, however, stem from the alleged coverup. An investigation by the Office of Professional Standards, the State Police’s internal affairs office, found Richardson falsely reported to dispatchers that he had pulled over a man on December 23 when he had actually pulled over one of the women he was targeting, according to a statement from authorities.

He is also accused of falsely reporting in an official dispatch log on January 3 that he stopped to aid a motorist, when had actually stopped the other woman “to ask her if she still had the same phone number.”

He allegedly deactivated the dashboard camera on his troop car during some of the stops.

Richardson, of Camden, was suspended from his position on the statewide force, where he made an annual salary of $60,749, according to public payroll records. He could not be reached and his attorney, Lauren Sandy, declined to comment on the accusations.

Richardson was assigned to the division’s Port Norris Station. A report from an NBC affiliate in Philadelphia last year said Richardson had been recognized by a national anti-bullying organization for his volunteer work at Camden High School.

He faces charges of third-degree tampering with public records or information and fourth-degree falsifying or tampering with records. If convicted, he faces up to five years in state prison.

The accusations against Richards are similar to charges brought against another trooper, Marquice Prather, who was accused in December of pulling over women to ask them out and then lying about it on official documents.

A spokesman for the Division of Criminal Justice, Peter Aseltine, said the two cases did not appear to be related. The charges against Prather are still pending, court documents show.

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