Officer in alleged Fulop Administration DUI cover-up infamously killed teenager in 2000
Sergeant Vincent Corso, the Jersey City police officer at the center of an alleged DUI cover-up involving members of the Fulop Administration, was at a local tavern hours before he infamously shot and killed fifteen-year-old Michael Anglin on January 28, 2000.
Following former Jersey City Police Chief Robert “Bubba” Cowan’s lawsuit against the city, information discovered about JCPD Sgt. Vincent Corso due to Cowan’s complaint in New Jersey Superior Court raises much more serious questions.
Since Cowan’s lawsuit – which alleges that Mayor Steven Fulop, Public Safety Director James Shea, and others from the Fulop Administration actively participated in the cover-up of an officer DUI – it has been discovered through an Open Public Records Act request that Corso was taken into custody, but not arrested, for drinking and driving in Robbinsville, NJ on January 30, 2014.
The footage of Corso’s detainment, recorded by Robbinsville Police Department vehicles equipped with dash cameras, depicts an officer chastising Corso for being intoxicated, as well as his resistance to being disarmed of his service weapon. Cowan alleges in his lawsuit that the incident was covered-up for political reasons.
Of note, Corso is identified as the 1st Vice President of the Jersey City Police Superior Officers Association (JCPSOA) on their website. Sources have previously informed Real Jersey City that Corso is the brother-in-law of JCPSOA President Robert Kearns.
In addition to the Robbinsville dash camera footage, another video apparently showing Corso, as well as other JCPD officers, drinking in uniform has been obtained by Real Jersey City following an anonymous tip.
Through research and documentation, it has also been learned that Corso is the officer who tragically shot and killed fifteen-year-old Michael Anglin in 2000 near the intersection of Bayview and Arlington Avenues. Through Corso’s own admission, under questioning from the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office (HCPO), it has come to light that he was at a local tavern hours before the shooting of Anglin.
CORSO TESTIMONY TO HUDSON COUNTY PROSECUTOR’S OFFICE HOMICIDE SQUAD
Details from a lawsuit that was eventually settled for $2.4 million, costing Jersey City taxpayers $1.2 million, reveal that Corso was at a local tavern, Lambert’s Tavern, hours before the fatal encounter with Anglin during an off-duty assignment.
According to numerous sources, Lambert’s Tavern was once a popular bar for JCPD officers and local politicians on West Side Ave. near Armstrong Ave. in Jersey City.
Corso stated that he was at the tavern for only fifteen minutes the night of Anglin’s death, met with another officer, Bill Rauley, and only ordered “a soda, a coke, or something like that.”
The off-duty assignment, according to Corso, was from 3 P.M. to 9 P.M., and part of work created by an Urban Enterprise Zone (UEZ) where officers “speak to proprietors of stores on certain areas of the city’s South District.”
After the off-duty assignment, but before his regular patrol assignment from 11 P.M. to 7 A.M., Corso claimed he went to eat dinner at home with his girlfriend.
Of note, to Corso’s “belief,” when he returns for roll call at 11 P.M. his desk man is Lieutenant Hussey. The radio transmission for a stolen van, which preceded the fatal encounter between Corso and Anglin, was made at 11:20 P.M.
Regarding the shooting, Corso claims that when he attempted to arrest Anglin after he exited the van, the teen lunged at him while he was in a bladed position with his gun in his right hand, they struggled for five-to-ten seconds, then both fell to the ground causing the gun to go off – which fatally wounded Anglin with a gunshot to the right side of his head.
Corso stated that he did not intentionally discharge his weapon, and that he fell to the left side of Anglin.
CLOUD OF CONTROVERSY SURROUNDING THE SHOOTING
According to the New York Times, Anglin’s parents, Michael and Rosalee Anglin, were critical of then-Hudson County Prosecutor Frederick J. Theemling Jr., and the failure of a grand jury to indict Corso. Anglin’s parents said at the time that Theemling made a biased presentation to the grand jury.
The grand jury determined that Anglin had been shot accidentally during a struggle with Officer Corso, which Theemling agreed with amid allegations of bias.
Additionally, according to a Hudson Reporter article published in 2000, “police failed to notify the county prosecutor’s office for two hours after Anglin’s death, leaving questions over whether the scene of the shooting was compromised.”
JCPD sources disputed that interpretation of events, instead putting the blame on the HCPO’s response time.
L. Harvey Smith, who was a Jersey City councilman at the time of Anglin’s death, said he marched for justice with the teenager’s grandfather, Bishop William Pickett.
“It was a day where a kid was stopped, by police, and he was told to get down on the ground,” said Smith.
Smith stated that due to a leg issue Anglin “couldn’t get down on the ground,” and that “the officer had his gun out, the gun discharged, and the kid was wrongfully killed.”
Rev. Edward A. Allen, a founding board member of the Rainbow/Push Coalition, said Anglin “played drums at his grandfather’s church, and was in fact on his way to church that evening.”
“Michael apparently was offered a ride by someone who had a car that was reported stolen. There is some story that the car really wasn’t stolen, that it had been lent to the gentleman who was driving, who I met and talked with.”
Allen said that the teen he spoke with claimed he was lent the car by its owner for a drug transaction, and that he didn’t return the car on time, which prompted the owner to report the van stolen and the ensuing police chase.
When the chase ended near the intersection of Bayview and Arlington Avenues the other teens in the vehicle fled the scene, Allen said.
Of note, Corso also stated that the other teens fled, and that his partner, Officer Louis Vega, arrested two of the actors after the vehicle crashed near the intersection.
According to Allen’s version of Anglin’s death, when the teen exited the van he “was tackled, and ultimately while he laid on the ground, the police officer shot him point blank in the head.”
BISHOP PICKETT DIES IN TRAGIC FIRE ON GRANT AVE
“I worked with his grandparents, Bishop Pickett, who lost his life not so long ago to a fire that consumed him, his wife, and two of his sons,” said Allen.
“They were committed to getting to the truth of this matter, and sadly what we’re learning is that what we believed in 2005 is very accurate – that we have a police officer that’s out of control.”
As reported by CBS New York, the 81-year-old Pickett, his wife, 81-year-old Eula Mae, and their two adult sons, 55-year-old Thomas and 51-year-old Curtis, died in the Grant Avenue fire on March 6, 2014 – a little more than a month after Corso was pulled over in Robbinsville.
CORSO AND OTHER JCPD COPS DRINKING IN UNIFORM
Real Jersey City was annonymously tipped to a video allegedly depicting Corso and other JCPD officers drinking in uniform at an off-duty assignment.
Sources say that Corso, and the other officers, were penalized for the video, but were not removed from the force. Sources have confirmed the identities of all the JCPD officers in the video.
Three of the officers were part of a narcotics unit, including former Captain Joseph Ascolese. Ascolese did not appear to be drinking from the large liquor bottle in the video, and the drink in his hand could not be identified as an alcoholic beverage.
Real Jersey City is withholding the names of the other officers involved at this time as a professional courtesy.
Ascolese is currently the co-plantiff in a federal lawsuit with Lieutenant Kelly Chesler, who claims that Public Safety Director James Shea and Police Chief Philip Zacche retaliated against her for reporting alleged sexual harassment by other JCPD officers.
Sources say that Zacche was the supervisor of the aforementioned narcotics unit at the time.
NO RESPONSE FROM FULOP ADMINISTRATION, CHIEF PHILIP ZACCHE, JERSEY CITY POLICE SUPERIOR OFFICERS ASSOCIATION
Jersey City Spokesperson Jennifer Morrill did not return an email seeking comment regarding information documented in this article, including an inquiry into whether any action was taken against Corso regarding events that occurred in Robbinsville, NJ on the night of January 30, 2014.
A representative of the JCPSOA did not return an email seeking comment regarding the events that occurred in Robbinsville, NJ on the night of January 30, 2014.
Chief Zacche declined to respond to an email inquiring about the video, and whether he served as a supervisor of the narcotics unit allegedly involved at the time, as sources have said.