LAWRENCE TOWNSHIP, New Jersey -- Three Lawrence Township, N.J., police officers were charged Thursday with falsifying government records after an internal affairs investigation revealed that they lied about where they were, authorities said.
Officers Hector Nieves, 44, Liubove Bjorklund, 32, and Timothy Wallace, 28, were all suspended without pay, according to a release from the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office.
Nieves and Bjorklund were also charged with violating Governor Phil Murphy’s Executive Order No. 118 which closed all state parks and forests and county parks during the coronavirus pandemic.
The executive order was rescinded earlier this month.
The prosecutor’s office was contacted by the police department after an investigation regarding allegations of deceptive conduct and falsification of records, the office said.
The investigation found Nieves falsely documented his location in computer aided dispatch (CAD) 19 times between March 21 and May 11, 2020, and that he violated the executive order by entering the New Jersey Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park in Princeton on April 23 for a purpose unrelated to any official function or capacity, prosecutors said.
He also altered the view of the camera in his police car on “multiple occasions" so that it would not show him covertly meeting with an off-duty female police officer, the office alleged. In one incident, the camera’s position was altered so that it would not record Nieves and the off-duty officer meeting or entering the closed park.
Bjorklund was charged with falsifying her location in meal break calls for service (CFS) documents 11 times between March 20 and May 4, authorities said.
She also allegedly violated the executive order by entering the New Jersey Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park on April 23, 2020, for a purpose unrelated to any official function or capacity, the office said.
It was unclear if Bjorklund was the off-duty female officer Nieves allegedly met with on April 23 as a prosecutor’s office spokeswoman could not immediately be reached to clarify the charges.
Wallace was charged with falsely logging his location in a CAD record on May 4.
The three officers were served with summons complaints on Thursday morning.
Nieves’ lawyer, Charles Sciarra, defended the officer and called the charges “complete crap.”
“These charges are complete crap manufactured by a corrupt police department targeting whistleblowers who exposed their corrupt quota practices," Sciarra said in a statement. "The other two officers are collateral damage. Nieves is not guilty and will fight these charges.”
Chris Sheldon may be reached at [email protected].
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