Reed St. video surfaces amid speculation over job status of Chief Mike Kelly

As speculation regarding the job status of Chief Mike Kelly swirls throughout the JCPD, video from the infamous Reed St. incident – an event which has haunted the police chief’s reputation ever since – has surfaced a decade later.

JCPD Chief Mike Kelly and Deputy Chief Mark Miller at podium.

On the same day Jersey City Police Department (JCPD) Chief Mike Kelly signed a personnel order appointing provisional-Deputy Chief Mark Miller as acting chief “until further notice,” Real Jersey City received CCTV video from the infamous Reed St. incident that resulted in the death of Det. Marc DiNardo and wounding of four other officers – prompting questions about Kelly’s future with the JCPD amid internal disputes.

Internal Dispute over Chesler & O’Neill charges

According to sources with knowledge of the situation, Kelly and Public Safety Director James Shea have been “butting heads” over multiple issues recently – especially disciplinary charges against Lt. Kelly Chesler & Officer Michael O’Neill.

The charges stem from the same unsubstantiated allegations of fraud related to the Pulaski Skyway and Route 139 rehabilitation projects which were the basis of a 107-count indictment by the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office (HCPO) back in June 2016.

The criminal case was ultimately dismissed by HCPO First Deputy Assistant Prosecutor Peter Stoma in October 2018 after Hudson County Superior Court Judge Mirtha Ospina acquitted O’Neill and ended the “paper oriented” aspect of the “circumstantial case.”

Since then, Chesler and O’Neill have been fighting the city for backpay and reimbursement of legal fees (read Jersey Journal report here). As previously noted by Real Jersey City, Shea told city labor attorney Scott Carbone on February 8, 2019, during one of the breaks in the Goldrich trial, that “we’re not going to give [Chesler & O’Neill] their backpay because they’re gonna use the money on lawyers to sue us.”

Chesler and retired Capt. Joseph Ascolese, who was a co-defendant in the criminal trial, filed a lawsuit in 2015 claiming retaliation for reporting alleged sexual harassment of Chesler and racism within the JCPD. Shea was named as a defendant in the original complaint and would benefit legally if the charges against Chesler were sustained.

Of note, it’s not clear whether O’Neill will file his own lawsuit at this time. Regardless, Shea is looking for legal protection, yet it seems like the JCPD Internal Affairs Unit (IAU) might not sustain the charges against Chesler & O’Neill because they’re scared of their own legal liability.

For example, Lt. Robert Sjosward – who led the investigation which resulted in the 107-count indictment – recently retired from the JCPD as Chesler & Ascolese are fighting to add him to the lawsuit. Like many IAU officers, Kelly wants no part of the litigation, but if he were to override an IAU decision and sustain the charges for Shea, he would be named as a defendant quickly.

For Kelly, it’s probably not worth it to carry water for Shea and Mayor Steven Fulop – even if it means losing his job.

Reed St. video surfaces

Shea & Fulop probably realize it’s not worth it for Kelly to sustain charges against Chesler & O’Neill. Also, firing the police chief at this time might be another legal disaster – given that it might spur Kelly to file his own lawsuit (or at the least motivate him to provide favorable testimony for Chesler & Ascolese).

Simply put, the best case scenario for Shea & Fulop is for Kelly to retire and then promote someone to police chief that’s willing to do their dirty work. That’s why CCTV recordings from the infamous Reed St. incident surfacing last week was rather peculiar – given that it might shame Kelly enough to have him retire.

The Reed St. incident occurred on July 16, 2009, when five police officers were wounded during gunfighting – including Det. Marc DiNardo, who tragically died from his injuries. The shooting began during a stakeout of two armed robbery suspects, Hassan Shakur and Amanda Anderson, who were ultimately killed by police during the incident. Video below is from the initial gunfight & police response:

Real Jersey City reached out to former JCPD Chief Robert “Bubba” Cowan – a person who had his own issues with IAU, disciplinary charges, and Shea & Fulop – for comment on the video. Cowan, who now owns & operates a private investigation business, but was a member of the JCPD at the time of the incident, said:

The moment Lt. Kelly, then commander of the major case squad, had located the violent offender’s parked vehicle on Reed Street, he had a responsibility to secure the scene and notify the nighttime citywide commander of the department; who in turn should have placed the on duty commander of the highly-trained emergency services unit in tactical command at the scene.

If Lt. Kelly had acted responsibly and in accordance with proper police procedure and best practices, the moment Hassan Shakur and/or his accomplice Amanda Anderson raised a weapon in the street, both would have been neutralized by members of the ESU.

As well, Lt. Kelly was dressed as though he was heading to a tennis match rather than to a nighttime surveillance of a violent offender. To be kind, what I saw in that video was a dismal failure in leadership.

Another law enforcement source, speaking off-the-record, was infuriated with Kelly’s actions after viewing the video because “he exposed all the responding officers to unnecessary danger by casually walking in front of the suspect’s building, potentially in the line of fire.”

Speculation over job status of Chief Mike Kelly

While some sources have said Kelly’s order appointing Miller acting chief “until further notice” led to unfound speculation, many see the writing on the wall – it looks like the police chief might be towards the end of his tenure.

Remember, beyond the Chesler & O’Neill situation, the city council is starting to ask questions about excessive police overtime costs, there’s still no answers on the Forgotten Five, off-duty work remains a sensitive subject, and the body-cam rollout has been a disaster – highlighted by kids playing with fireworks getting shot.

Politically speaking, it seems like the perfect time for Mayor Fulop to blame someone other than James Shea for the failures of the JCPD. Plus, Fulop & Shea need to find someone to sustain charges against Chesler & O’Neill (if Kelly doesn’t cave in).

Given his prior work in IAU, Miller might not be the right candidate (despite his close ties to county leadership, notably Craig Guy). Provisional-DC Patricia Cassidy would probably be ideal for Shea, especially given Fulop’s disingenuous spin on appointing women into top leadership positions and her track record of nepotism & cronyism. There’s also provisional-DC Edgar Martinez, but he’s currently under fake investigation by the HCPO (similar to how Phil Zacche once was).

Nevertheless, it’s unfortunate that video of what might be Mike Kelly’s worst moment has come to light at what might be his finest (if he’s actually doing right by exercising his authority and saying no to Fulop & Shea).

Finally, on August 8, 2019, the same day the memo appointing Miller as acting chief was issued, Jersey City Spokesperson Kimberly Wallace-Scalcione did not answer an email asking whether Mayor Fulop had any “personal & professional knowledge” regarding Kelly’s actions during the Reed St. incident.

5 comments

  • Bubba Cowan, a credible authority? LMAO

    • Kelly Alice Robinson, I get it you don’t like the person delivering the message so you attack him, but you say nothing about the message, very curious. My first impression is that this type of obfuscation of message would come from some sort of “Social Media Strategist”.

      I know why it seems that way, because you are a “Social Media Strategist” based out of Lancaster PA. Some strategist you are, it only took three minutes to find you, I think a better description of you would be the “Village of Lancaster Idiot”, LMAO

      https://www.etsy.com/people/kittiekinz

      Hopefully you and your partner Chris are enjoying your new home in Blossom Hill, PA,

      https://lancasteronline.com/alwayslancaster/first-time-homebuyers-bring-savvy-to-the-sale/article_cc55480e-d4b7-11e5-a7e8-57fab78e63e5.html

      The only mystery here is whose paying you Fulop or Kelly?

      Hugs and kisses

    • Kelly, before you jump in and get your kinky lumberjack outfit covered in mud and shit you should know what you’re talking about.

      Nothing Bubba said in that quote is inaccurate so unless you have a foundation of knowledge to contradict his statement it’s best you stay in your lane. I haven’t got a clue what a social media strategist is nor do I really care but you should really consider the character of the people you’re involving yourself with.

      You’re here chiming in with your unsolicited opinion from Amish country without having any background so I’ll fill you in as best I can.

      Little Stevie is so insecure and weak that he cannot abide anything other than sychophantic underlings. To say no to the Boy King or to suggest that his ideas are not well thought through and more than likely illegal will put you in the crosshairs of this spoiled runt. The aspiring governor will never consider the informed dissent of a person who spent his entire life in law enforcement legitimate even if he has consistently been at the very top of every promotional exam. Selective enforcement, interfering with interstate commerce and logjamming a major seaport are not to be seen as potential crimes but regarded as acts of brilliant political maneuvering. Who is this career law enforcement officer to question the wisdom of the self appointed smartest guy in the room?

      Anything other than blind obedience will have you replaced with the footman waiting in the wings and when that appointment ends in disaster there will be another groveling at the feet of Prince Fulop. While this palace intrigue plays out a once proud police department circles the drain under the leadership of Director Shea.

      Jim Shea who is accountable to no one and whose greatest accomplishment is apparently overseeing the framing and malicious prosection of a female whistleblower and two innocent police officers is an enigma that deserves further investigation. How can you explain the continued employment and ongoing tenure of the man who was at the helm during the biggest corruption scandal in JCPD history? As I recall Chief Cowan was interviewed by Realjc after the news broke and he laid out in great detail his proposal to better supervise and control the off duty jobs program. This common sense plan was rejected out of hand by Director Shea and the citizens of the city deserve to know why. Did anyone ever consider the possibility that Shea knew what was happening but turned a blind eye to it for nefarious reasons? What would be out of the realm of possibility? Kickbacks? Blackmail? Guaranteed political patronage in the future? Maybe it was just good old hubris and incompetence.
      Hubris in the way of it wasn’t his idea and he can’t let Lord Steven know someone has an actual plan? This would jeopardize his standing.
      Incompetence meaning he’s been appointed to a position that he isn’t qualified for and he has no choice but to destroy anything he feels threatens his thin veneer of legitimacy?
      Why would the winner of the nationwide search for a director reject the strategy that would have killed the corruption at the root? Better yet why didn’t he think of this himself?
      One would have to be concerned that after a comprehensive nationwide search this guy is the creme de la creme, top of the heap, greatest of all time public safety executive. We are all in deep trouble if this guy is the best we have or maybe the nationwide search was itself a ruse and Sheas selection was a foregone conclusion.
      Any chance that Shea could have made a big huge problem for Stevie in NYC go away? This is something for an investigative reporter to dig deep into.

      Are you still with me Kelly because now we should really take a look at the big 107 count indictment that hissy fit Steve touted as his personal victory against corruption. Big press release and everything bells whistles you name it Steve was now the undisputed champion of all that is righteous.
      The only problem with this was the three people Fulops goons and lapdogs framed knew they didn’t do anything wrong and took it to trial. I can only imagine the horror and shock they felt when not guilty pleas were entered. It wasn’t supposed to happen this way. They manufactured a phony indictment based on what was at best flimsy evidence and piled on enough charges so that the people making trouble for the beloved director and mayor with their sexual harassment complaints and exposure of disgusting racist practices would have no choice but to take a plea. After they’re gone and their lives are completely destroyed we will bask in the everlasting glory bestowed upon us by master Fulop.
      Didn’t work out for them and now it’s being reported that Shea is looking for a new Chief of police that is willing to sustain more trumped up bogus departmental charges in order to mitigate his legal exposure.
      Watch the video of the trial on this site. I’m going to replay it tomorrow just to see Lorenzo Tosado repeatedly lie under oath again and again. Is he still working? Because after watching him stumbling and fumbling before finally crumbling while testilying I can’t imagine him not being fired.
      Watch the video and let me know what you think. Should he just get away with being fired or should he be fired and charged with perjury?

      Anyway Kelly I’ll wrap it up here but just consider the quality of the people you take up with because it seems like everyone who gets near Fulop ends up covered in shit and mud. Except Shea of course.

  • The video speaks for itself. Ask the cops that were involved and shot at. One is no longer here as a result.

  • It’s harder to be a police officer than to write a blog about the police. Get a life

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