Authorities: Asbury Park Police Officers Admit Vandalizing Complainant's Vehicles Last Fall

An Asbury Park police officer and a former city Special Law Enforcement Officer have admitted to vandalizing vehicles owned by someone who filed an internal affairs complaint against them, authorities said.

Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office

Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office

Photo Credit: Monmouth County

Asbury Park Police Officer Stephen Martinsen, 31, and former Special Officer Thomas Dowling, 27, both of Asbury Park pleaded guilty on Tuesday, Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni said.

They had been charged with criminal mischief for vandalizing two vehicles, one in Ocean Grove and one in Asbury Park, between 3 a.m. and 4 a.m. on Sept. 3, 2019, Gramiccioni said.

Dowling and Martinsen admitted during their pleas before Monmouth County Superior Court Judge Vincent N. Falcetano, Jr.,that they slashed the tires of the vehicles and smashed a window of one of the vehicles, causing more than $500 damage, according to Gramiccioni

They also admitted vandalizing the vehicles after the victim filed a complaint against them with the Asbury Park Police Department, he said.

Prosecutors agreed to recommend a probationary sentence if restitution is paid for the damaged vehicles. Sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 16.

The defendants also are banned from future public employment in New Jersey. 

“Spiteful retaliation from law enforcement officers towards a citizen for any reason is an unacceptable option," Gramiccioni said. "This is in no way condoned at any level, for any reason."

Martinsen, with the department since May 2013, has been suspended without pay since the incident. 

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