James Shea axed IA investigation into infamous cop sleeping on duty in Lincoln Park, sources say

According to sources, Public Safety Director James Shea stopped an internal affairs investigation into a Jersey City police officer – Sgt. Vincent Corso – for sleeping on duty in his patrol car, in Lincoln Park West, on August 24, 2015.

Sgt. Vincent Corso - Lincoln Park West Bridge - August 24, 2015

Sgt. Vincent Corso – Lincoln Park West Bridge – August 24, 2015

With violent crime engulfing many parts of Jersey City’s West District, concerned residents can often be found at public meetings demanding more police patrols in the most dangerous of neighborhoods. While promises of walking posts and accountability from Mayor Steven Fulop and Public Safety Director James Shea are often made at these meetings, they apparently don’t follow through on them when it involves Sgt. Vincent Corso.

According to sources, on August 24, 2015, Corso took his patrol car and went to sleep in the back of Lincoln Park West. Sources added that ex-Mayor Gerald “Gerry” McCann, who served two years in prison in the early 90’s after being convicted of a savings-and-loan scam, though he still maintains his innocence, notified Shea of an officer sleeping in their patrol car and supposedly took a picture before another Jersey City Police Department (JCPD) officer got to the scene.

Sources claim that Shea did not only halt a JCPD Internal Affairs (IA) investigation into the incident, but that Corso boasted about Shea’s handling of the situation to other officers.

Corso’s timesheet from that day, obtained via the Open Public Records Act (OPRA), states that he was working patrol on a day shift in the West District at the time of the alleged incident.

CCTV footage, obtained via OPRA from the Hudson County Department of Corrections, supports the allegation of an officer sleeping in the back of Lincoln Park West, but does not provide definitive proof.

The videos were obtained after the Hudson County Board of Freeholders – notably Freeholders Bill O’Dea and Anthony Romano – requested the county, following a plea from Real Jersey City, preserve all CCTV footage from the park for August 24, 2015 before it was erased after thirty days.

Due to the nature of the plea made to the board of freeholders, the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office (HCPO) initiated their own internal affairs investigation.

The CCTV footage appears to show a JCPD car entering Lincoln Park West at 7:51 A.M., a Hudson County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) car enter at 8:31 A.M., a second JCPD car enter at 9:01 A.M., then both JCPD cars exit at 9:04 A.M., and finally a HCSO car exit at 9:32 A.M.

Below are a set of screenshots detailing the timeline of all marked law enforcement vehicles:

JCPD Car 1 - Lincoln Park - August 24, 2015 (7:51 AM)

JCPD Car 1 – Lincoln Park Bridge (7:51 AM)

JCPD Car 1 - Lincoln Park - August 24, 2015 (7:51 AM)

JCPD Car 1 – Lincoln Park West (7:51 AM)

HC Sheriff Lincoln Park

Hudson County Sheriff – Lincoln Park Bridge (8:31 AM)

Hudson County Sheriff Lincoln Park West 1

Hudson County Sheriff – Lincoln Park West (8:31 AM)

JCPD Patrol Car Lincoln Park Bridge

JCPD Car 2 – Lincoln Park – (9:01 AM)

JCPD Car 2 - Lincoln Park West (9:01 AM)

JCPD Car 2 – Lincoln Park West (9:01 AM)

JCPD Lincoln Park Exit 1

JCPD Car 1 – Lincoln Park West (9:04 AM)

JCPD Lincoln Park Exit 2

JCPD Car 2 – Lincoln Park West (9:04 AM)

JCPD Lincoln Park Garage

Both JCPD Cars Exiting- Lincoln Park Garage (9:04 AM)

Hudson County Sheriff Exiting

Hudson County Sheriff – Lincoln Park West (9:32 AM)

McCann, speaking with Real Jersey City, stated he was initially alerted by McNair High School athletes, while coaching track, that a “cop might be dead in his car” parked in the back of Lincoln Park West. The ex-mayor said he assumed that the officer was sleeping, and called the public safety director’s office immediately to not give the impression to McNair students that “this is just how things operate in Jersey City.”

Eventually McCann went to his car and drove to see the situation up close himself. He claims to have got up next to the patrol car and saw the officer’s “chin firmly into their chest,” but did not recognize who they were.

McCann denied that he took a photograph of the officer sleeping, and claimed that he did not personally know who Corso was. He added that he left quickly, and that as he came back from parking his car, another JCPD patrol car was crossing the bridge.

CCTV footage supports much of McCann’s recollection of the event.

When asked, McCann said no one from the HCPO’s IA unit contacted him regarding the investigation, but that a Jersey Journal reporter did inquire with him about the incident.

Multiple sources state Fulop is aware of Corso supposedly sleeping in Lincoln Park, and condoned Shea halting an investigation to maintain his close relationship with the Jersey City Police Superior Officers Association (JCPSOA). It’s believed that Fulop’s relationship with the JCPSOA is helping him build police union support from around New Jersey for his likely gubernatorial campaign.

Corso is the 1st vice president of the JCPSOA, his brother-in-law, Lt. Robert Kearns, is the president.

JCPSOA Pres. Robert Kearns  - Mayor Steven Fulop - James Carroll (PSOA) - (Where is JCPSOA 1st VP Corso?)

JCPSOA Pres. Robert Kearns – Mayor Steven Fulop – James Carroll (JCPSOA)

(NOTE: The above picture was sent to me by Lt. James Carroll, of the JCPSOA, immediately after it was taken because they supposedly wanted me to add it to my files.)

Of note, ex-Chief Robert “Bubba” Cowan, in his lawsuit which he has since withdrawn, alleged Fulop participated in a cover-up of a DUI incident in Robbinsville, NJ involving Corso. Carroll and Kearns were the officers who picked up Corso, and his gun, in Robbinsville on the night Corso was taken into custody.

As previously reported, Corso infamously shot and killed fifteen-year-old Michael Anglin on January 28, 2000.

More recently, Corso was supposedly JCPD officer Bridget Revell’s superior the day she was allegedly berated by Fulop on Martin Luther King Dr. while on a walking post.

HCPO Acting Chief of Detectives Gene Rubino did not respond to multiple emails asking if the HCPO IA investigation had concluded.

Jersey City spokesperson Jennifer Morrill did not respond to an email asking if Fulop was aware of the incident in Lincoln Park, and whether or not Shea halted an IA investigation – which is supposed to be operated by Deputy Chief Joseph Connors under Chief Philip Zacche.

Morrill also didn’t answer as to whether the Fulop Administration thought officers sleeping on duty was a serious issue. According to Internal Affairs guidelines set by the NJ Attorney General, sleeping on duty is a serious rules infraction which can result in employment termination.

According to NJ.com, a state appeals court recently ruled that an Irvington police officer caught sleeping on duty had not only neglected his duties, but “presented a danger to himself and the public” by sleeping with his service weapon clearly exposed.

A spokesperson for the JCPSOA declined to return an email asking if the union can confirm or deny that Corso was in his patrol car sleeping on the day in question.

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