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Woman cleared of stabbing friend charged with assaulting Little Ferry police

Photo Credit: CLIFFVIEW PILOT Courthouse Reporter Mary K. Miraglia
Photo Credit: Courtesy BERGEN COUNTY SHERIFF

YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: A former Hackensack woman who was found to have acted in self defense when she stabbed a former friend was pepper-sprayed by Little Ferry police yesterday after authorities said she attacked several officers — spitting in the mouth of one of them.

Nilajah Sumter, 35, wrestled with and spit at officers and damaged the front seat partition by kicking it after they tried to get her to stop soliciting for an alternative energy company without a permit, Police Chief Ralph Verdi told CLIFFVIEW PILOT.

Sumter was encouraging people along Waterside Drive to do business with IDT Energy, which sells gas and electricity to local customers, even though she didn’t have the required municipal permit, the chief said.


When officers tried to shoo her away, he said, she began pushing and cursing at them. She then became “extremely violent” in the radio car, was removed and began fighting and spitting, the chief said.

Finally, they pepper-sprayed her, he said.

Sumter was then taken to Bergen Regional Medical Center before being transferred to the Bergen County Jail, where a judge ordered her held on $30,000 bail on charges of aggravated assault on a police officer, resisting arrest and obstruction.

One of the officers was hospitalized after Sumter spit in his mouth, Verdi said.

CVP readers might remember Sumter from April, when jurors in Hackensack found that she acted in self-defense when she stabbed a former female friend who burst into her South Hackensack apartment to dispute a hospital bill for an emergency room visit.

Sumter told the jury that she was frightened and didn’t know what to do when the woman confronted her in December 2013.

She grabbed the knife out of fear, she said, leaving the woman with superficial chest and hand wounds.

The incident began when Sumter called the woman to tell her about the emergency room bill following a crash a few weeks earlier. Both were driving in a van full of furniture to a hotel where the woman was planning to stay when they hit a barricade in the road, sending Sumter to the hospital with a back injury.

Although Sumter said she wasn’t feeling well and asked her to come by another time, the woman showed up with her boyfriend, anyway.

The 5-foot, 105 pound Sumter said she asked her to leave but the woman — a good four to five inches taller and some 30 to 40 pounds heavier — forced open the door.

After the stabbing, she said, the woman smashed two windows of her apartment and threw a marble block through the window of her car.

Then she left and went to the police station, leaving her boyfriend behind to keep watch on Sumter, before finally ending up at Hackensack University Medical Center.

Jurors found her not of four counts — two of assaulting the woman and two weapons offenses — after an hour of deliberations.

FILE PHOTOS: CLIFFVIEW PILOT Courthouse Reporter Mary K. Miraglia

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