‘Food for Thought’: 8 slices of JCPD-Domino’s Pizza incident
Corruption, politics, double standards, abuse of power, awful union leadership… Real Jersey City breaks down the JCPD-Domino’s Pizza incident.
On the night of March 27, 2018, it’s safe to assume Jersey City Police Department (JCPD) officers Ronald Clark and Courtney Solomon should’ve had a Snickers. Regrettably, it seems the young officers were craving Domino’s Pizza and what followed was a hangry episode.
Now, before I start slicing into this incident, it’s appropriate to do a quick recap of what allegedly occurred.
According to the police report obtained by Real Jersey City, the officers placed a delivery order to a Morton Place address – which was eventually cancelled via phone and supposedly refunded for taking too long. The report states that Mena Kirolos, the manager of the Domino’s Pizza on Communipaw Ave., claimed the caller was becoming irate, called him a “mother f***er” and said that they would be “responding to the establishment.”
Clark and Solomon apparently headed towards the Domino’s establishment shortly thereafter, and, like a Chappelle’s Show skit – that’s when keeping it real went wrong.
For those who haven’t seen video of the incident, below is footage obtained by Real Jersey City. It’s two videos in one – the first part is cell phone footage covering part of the incident, the second is four surveillance cameras capturing the full incident, without audio, from different angles.
Without further ado, it’s the Real Jersey City breakdown:
1. Notorious Service
However unnecessary and ill-advised Clark and Solomon’s actions were, there’s certainly an element of the Jersey City public that empathizes with them. To quote Sergio Bichao, deputy digital editor for NJ1015.com, it’s interesting how the Facebook video comment section “quickly devolves into complaints about the pizza and delivery.”
Alas, the Domino’s on Communipaw might have bigger problems on the internet than a Facebook comment section – like their 1.5-star rating on Yelp. However unscientific and anecdotal internet reviews may be, it’s definitely not a good look that all eight of their 2018 Yelp reviews are 1-star (six of which were written prior to the incident).
2. Abuse of Power
I’ll keep this simple because I’m not interested in being the Monday Morning Quarterback of the video.
Though some law enforcement officers (LEOs) have privately defended Clark and Solomon to me, most have not. Whatever one thinks of the video, whether they acted to protect themselves or not, they should’ve never been at the Domino’s in the first place.
Once again, I just want to emphasize this point – Clark and Solomon should’ve never been at the Domino’s in the first place. It doesn’t matter how disrespectful Kirolos may have been on the phone, there’s no excuse for such a lapse in judgement from an on-duty LEO. Taxpayers and vendors are paying for professionalism and service, not pettiness and bullying.
Furthermore, if a disrespectful chain restaurant manager can illicit that type of response… I can only wonder what’s happening during a fixed/walking post near Ocean and Wegman. Like Domino’s on Communipaw, these officers, too, also had a few complaints in the comment section (and private messages).
3. Double Standards
Let’s get straight to the point – Clark and Solomon get the hammer in less than 24 hours, but Vincent Corso is still employed as a JCPD officer? And Mayor Steven Fulop promoted him to lieutenant so he can boost his pension? Yes and yes. Remember, this is the same Corso that:
Oh, and there’s the video below – which the liberal white supremacist Jersey Journal conspicuously never mentions when reporting about Corso:
4. Diversity in Law Enforcement
Once you’ve moderated seemingly rapid-fire YouTube comments, it’s easy to notice how the conversation online can be poisoned by the bigotry of a few. Nevertheless, there’s often a big difference between hate and honest criticism – which, evidently, is an opinion the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office (HCPO) doesn’t share when it comes to their Facebook comment section.
Notwithstanding unabashed hate, if the officers involved weren’t black, no one would be discussing how efforts to “diversify” police forces is the underlying issue with the JCPD-Domino’s incident. When it’s cops like Corso, Lt. Terrence Crowley and Capt. Lou Karras, I never hear the same characters make sweeping claims about white privilege.
For the record, I’ve been critical of both diversity and white privilege regarding JCPD employment practices. One is emotion-based public policy while the other is toxic to society, and, at least in Jersey City, the former is a tool of racism.
How so? The 2017 tweets below regarding since-retired IAU Deputy Chief Joseph Connors’ son being hired by the JCPD will help paint part of the picture.
— Real Jersey City (@RealJerseyCity) March 31, 2017
To keep this piece under 2,000 words, though, I’ll dig into the Connors story in a future expose of the Jersey Journal. That said, the Journal’s misreporting is partially why no one of color on the Public Safety Citizen Advisory Board questioned Director Shea’s “97% of JCPD applicants are minorities if you include white women” statement at the April 11, 2017 meeting.
Regardless, Shea’s propaganda offered a laugh for myself, a future police chief (capt 1) and a captain now on modified duty (capt 2) when I left the meeting early:
Capt(1): Why you leaving?
Me: Got what I need.
Me: He said 97% of applicants! You saw my tweets!
Capt(2): I saw your tweets.
— Real Jersey City (@RealJerseyCity) April 12, 2017
Of note, at the time, the board had two Jersey City Anti-Violence Coalition Movement leaders – Pamela Johnson and Asheenia Johnson – as well as now-Ward A Councilwoman Denise Ridley. Hopefully Ridley will use her power to investigate the JCPD’s hiring practices, or at least not promote a false impression of progressive leadership in the department.
Sadly, the JCAVCM leaders have already choose to promote false impressions of progressive leadership in the HCPO with their fraudulent, hypocritical cultural diversity training. All they’ve actually done is empower a rape culture vultures like First Deputy Assistant Prosecutor Peter Stoma.
Also, the Hudson County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) can (rightfully) protect Stoma, and Assistant Prosecutor Charles Cho, from my camera in a courthouse hallway (like they did this past week). What the HCSO can’t do is stop me from telling the story of Mr. Aviles, a workers comp vendor fresh off a hysterectomy and the preponderance of evidence found by taxpayer-funded investigationS.
Also, before I forget, apparently Deputy Chief Connors wasn’t the only puppet of Director Shea with a fondness for nepotism…
5. Potential Off-Duty Corruption
UPDATE: Use of the term nephew has been put into quotation marks because this journalist has been informed they’re not blood relatives, rather, it’s representative of a close relationship which Clark apparently boasted about to other officers.
Confirmed by multiple sources, Ronald Clark is the “nephew” of Tawana Moody – the deputy administrative leader/police division director who works directly under Shea. Moody has been heavily involved with the JCPD off-duty jobs program for years, including assuming responsibility for “job picks” since 2016 due to federal investigations.
Furthermore, according to sources, Clark and Solomon were supposedly big off-duty earners and may have been violating department regulations with Moody’s knowledge. An Open Public Records Act (OPRA) request has been filed for the two officers’ Off-Duty Jobs and Totals reports, vouchers and Moody’s email logs.
The Off-Duty Jobs and Totals reports, plus vouchers, should be provided without extension by the Jersey City Clerk’s Office. Below is a sample report covering most of North District Commander Edgar Martinez’s off-duty earnings from 2017:
After more than a month, I’m still waiting on Capt. Martinez’s off-duty vouchers – which will show the actual times he worked on the days listed in the report. The vouchers should be produced no later than Tuesday afternoon by the Clerk’s Office after conspicuous delays (along with Clark and Solomon’s vouchers).
Simply put, I literally have zero-tolerance for deliberate delays of my OPRA requests moving forward.
6. Making-up for cover-ups at the HCPO
When I first read in the police report that HCPO Lt. Matthew Gasiorowski responded to the scene, I couldn’t wait to write on Facebook that an infamous cover-up artist was involved with the investigation. Unfortunately, for Clark and Solomon, they’re no Philip Zacche.
For those who don’t know, Gasiorowski is one of the investigators who helped exonerate Zacche – the since federally-convicted ex-JCPD chief. Without comparing apples to oranges, it was certainly interesting to see the two young officers charged within 24 hours. Sources have speculated that the HCPO moved fast to avoid any appearance of impropriety due to this journalist’s social media commentary regarding the situation.
Furthermore, as a matter of fact, just one email to Prosecutor Suarez was very helpful in resolving my “Potential Suppression of Access to Public Records” issue with the Jersey City Clerk’s Office. Without a doubt, the U.S. Department of Justice (USDOJ) has changed the culture of the HCPO when responding to my concerns…
7. Awful Union Leadership
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – the Disbrow brothers are the two biggest losers in police union history. Their lack of comment in support of Clark and Solomon speaks volumes, while simultaneously adding another lowlight to their record of failure as Jersey City Police Officer Benevolent Association (JCPOBA) leaders.
Though their biggest concern should be the USDOJ probing off-duty payments at Van Wagenen Ave. Apartments, or receipts for JCPOBA-sponsored events, they’re somehow still running for reelection as president and vice president of the police officers union after the contract debacle.
Needless to say, elections have consequences – JCPD officers should choose wisely.
8. Real Jersey City Resurgence (Part 2)
The hardest part about writing this piece is how much I actually don’t care about the JCPD-Domino’s incident.
This hasn’t been my finest work nor my best analysis, I just had to put a little closure on this story (soon enough, even Chico will have closure). Hopefully Clark and Solomon get a punishment no greater than ex-Sgt. John Ransom, and no less than ex-officer M.D. Khan – especially if the off-duty OPRAs return suspect paperwork.
Speaking of closure, this website will finally be closing down sometime soon. Until then, I’ve got a few bombshell investigations to drop – so stay tuned as the second resurgence commences.