EXCLUSIVE CLIFFVIEW PILOT INVESTIGATION : Radio transmissions show that an apparently intoxicated North Bergen High School Vice-Principal Edward Somick was arrested after he confronted cops during an argument with a neighbor outside his house, CLIFFVIEW PILOT has learned. However, Somick was later driven home from headquarters by the department’s chief-in-waiting, with no charges filed.
Township officers were summoned to Somick’s house at 9012 Durham Avenue around midnight May 14 on a report of an argument in the street. Their counterparts from Fairview were called in 20 minutes later as backup.
Somick — whose mother reportedly is dating Mayor Nicholas Sacco — had gotten into an argument with an Hispanic neighbor, calling him a four-letter racial epithet , in a fight over a parking space.
A relative of Somick’s told
that the neighbor frequently parked his car “across Ed’s driveway,” giving him a legitimate gripe.
However, a source with direct knowledge of the incident told CLIFFVIEW PILOT that Somick was handcuffed and placed into a police cruiser after he accosted the first officers at the scene. It’s unclear whether he put his hands on anyone, but the source said he was “drunk and disorderly.”
Records show Somick was brought to headquarters by Officer Marco Rovello.
But instead of having a friend or relative pick him up, North Bergen Police Capt. Robert Dowd — who reportedly is being groomed as the department’s next chief — drove Somick home, another source with direct knowledge of the incident told CLIFFVIEW PILOT .
Police Chief William F. Galvin, who was immediately notified of the incident, has refused to answer any questions about it from CLIFFVIEWPILOT.COM , other than to emphasize through a spokesperson that Somick “wasn’t arrested.” Reports could not be confirmed that the chief was in the car with Dowd and Somick.
story that Somick was initially arrested and then later driven home by Dowd was labeled “totally untrue” by township spokesman Philip Swibinski in an email late Tuesday.
“There was a disagreement between Somick and a neighbor over a parking issue,” Swibinski wrote to Publisher/Editor Jerry DeMarco, “but no arrests were ever made and absolutely no charges have been filed against Edward Somick.”
He would not elaborate.
However, a police source told CLIFFVIEW PILOT that the Hispanic neighbor told at least one officer that a drunken Somick uttered a four-letter racial slur against him. That could qualify as grounds for investigation of a possible bias crime, under New Jersey State Attorney General guidelines.
Then there are the claims that Somick accosted the responding officers.
A partial transcript of the township police radio transmission includes:
05/14/10 00:04: ” police responded”
05/14/10 00:25: ” fairview responding”
05/14/10 00:38: ” arrest of 1 adult male to station “
CLIFFVIEW PILOT was denied a copy of the original incident report. “I thought the police report would be a public document,” Swibinski wrote in a May 19 email, “but I have been told by the department that because no arrest was made, it is not a public record and thus cannot be released to you.” ( EDITOR’S NOTE: It can be released, under certain conditions, under state guidelines. )
Instead, township officials apparently tried to broker an arrangement:
“Chief [William F.] Galvin and Captain Dowd have told me that they would be willing to let you look at a copy of the report in the Chief’s office [Thursday],” Swibinski wrote, “so you can read it and this whole matter can be ended.”
CLIFFVIEW PILOT refused, as a matter of policy. Instead, it emailed 10 questions to Galvin through Swibinski on Thursday, requesting answers within 24 hours:
1. What apparently initiated the conflict? What specifically was said between the two parties involved?
2. Was Mr. Somick taken to headquarters? If so, why?
3. Was he at any time placed under arrest? If not, why?
4. Was the other party taken to HQ? Was he at any time placed under arrest?
5. Has your department filed charges against Mr. Somick? Against the other party?
6. If so, what are they? If not, why?
7. Did anyone say that Mr. Somick used a racial epithet during the argument involving the other party’s ethnicity? If so, why is this not considered a bias crime?
8. Did either party file a citizen’s complaint against the other?
9. When were you made aware of the incident?
10. Where does everything stand now?
Swibinski sent a response, time-stamped 1:12 p.m. Friday, to CLIFFVIEW PILOT : “Somick was not arrested. We have no further comment.”
Somick could not be reached over the weekend. Neither could his mother, Kathryn, who also works for the township Board of Education, along with her three other sons, Steven, James and Walter Jr. Any or all are asked to contact CLIFFVIEW PILOT at 201.943.2794.
ANYONE WITH INFORMATION ABOUT THE INCIDENT IS ASKED TO CALL CLIFFVIEW PILOT OR TO WRITE TO THE SITE AT CLIFFVIEWPILOT@GMAIL.COM . THE IDENTITIES OF ALL SOURCES WILL BE STRICTLY SAFEGUARDED, UNDER THE LAW, WITH ASSISTANCE FROM OUR LEGAL TEAM.
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