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Former WNY cop turned activist questions trooper, Bergen detectives over Turnpike confrontation

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot File Photo

A former West New York police officer turned civil rights activist has asked the State Police and Bergen County Police Department to investigate the behavior of their officers during a heated exchange with two Bergen County police officers on the NJ Turnpike.

For one thing, Rich Rivera says, the state trooper involved may have “put himself or others in danger by participating in the stop.”

Rivera (above, right) also questions whether the trooper may have escalated the situation by arguing with a BCPD detective who cursed at him while asking why he had his gun drawn.

Rivera asks several other questions, including whether the trooper’s use of profanity was in keeping with written policies, procedures and standards.

“It’s his tone, its his demeanor, the fact that he’s interfering,” he told “This was an egotistical outburst all the way around.”

He goes on to ask whether the trooper committed yet another violation by not radioing in immediately after the incident.

Rivera, who heads a group known as the Civil Rights Protection Project, made headlines in Bergen County when he challenged the findings in a Garfield police-involved fatal shooting.

He had himself and an associate arrested by going to Bergen County Prosecutor John L. Molinelli’s office without an appointment and refusing to leave.

The charges were later dropped.

Rivera also got into a conflict late last year with Palisades Park Police Chief Benjamin Ramos over another police-involved shooting.

State police have not disciplined the trooper in any way. Their internal investigation into the matter is closed, Lt. Stephen Jones told CLIFFVIEW PILOT.

Meanwhile, Bergen County Executive Kathleen Donovan’s chief of staff, Jeanne Baratta, said that the two county officers involved have been disciplined — although she said that state Attorney General guidelines bar her from elaborating.


NJ State trooper confronted by Bergen County police on Turnpike, investigation demanded

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NJSP report: Trooper confronted by Bergen County police

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VIDEO: NJ State Police dashboard camera shows Bergen County Police confrontation

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Police chief corrects activist’s claim in shooting death of armed robber

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Judge increases lawyer’s fees for OPRA request to Bergen prosecutor

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State court rejects Rivera’s return to West New York PD

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Prosecutor warned activist against trespassing prior to arrests

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Molinelli accuses activist, newspaper of ‘trying to make news, not report it’

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