Friday, July 24, 2015

Former Millville Detective claims that Prosecutor Webb-McRae punished him for seeking to wiretap her former clients.

Jennifer Webb-McRae
Cumberland County Prosecutor
When Millville Police Detective Jeremy Miller filed his Conscientious Employee Protection Act (CEPA or "Whistleblower) lawsuit against the City of Millville (Cumberland County) in January 2014, it received wide coverage in the South Jersey Times, the Asbury Park Press, the Press of Atlantic City and other news outlets.  The allegations against Cumberland County Prosecutor Jennifer Webb-McRae that Miller made in December 2014 amended lawsuit, however, have not been reported by the media.

In his original lawsuit, Miller alleged that the Millville PD was so dysfunctional that officers would close criminal cases without investigating them and that Lt. Edward Zadroga, the MPD's the main villain, retaliated against Miller when he wouldn't join Zadroga's quest to undermine and eventually overthrow Chief Thomas Haas.  (Readers who want more detail on the suit's allegations are invited to read the three newspaper articles above and/or Judge Richard J. Geiger's June 13, 2014 decision on Millville's motion to dismiss the lawsuit.)

In his amended complaint, Miller claimed that the publicity surrounding the filing of his original suit caused Webb-McRae's office to conduct its own internal affairs investigation into his lawsuit's allegations.  While the investigation was pending, Miller, who investigating a double-homicide, said he requested Webb-McRae's office's permission to conduct a wiretap on certain people who Miller suspected of being involved in the homicide.  Miller claimed that as a result of that request, he was "abruptly and without notice of explanation pulled from his duties as a detective with the Millville Police Department and assigned to patrol duty, night shift, weekend duty."  Miller asserted that his reassignment was punishment for "bad press" Webb-McRae received after Miller's lawsuit was filed and because she had, in private practice, represented some of the people that Miller wanted to wire-tap.

Other items bearing some relevance to this matter:
  • Lt. Zadroga was among the officers sued by a fellow police officer who claimed that Zadroga and the others harassed him because of his sexual orientation.  That lawsuit resulted in a $415,000 settlement reached in May of 2009.
  • In December 2014, Zadroga received $100,000 to settle his CEPA lawsuit that claimed he was punished for reporting alleged ticket-fixing in the Millville Police Department.
  • On April 19, 2015, Zadroga was arrested for drunk driving but remains "officer in charge" of the Millville Police Department.