Hackensack Police Officers Fired for Warrantless Drug Bust

Internal Affairs Investigation Says Warrantless Search by Hackensack Cops Was Not Justified

Hackensack Drug Crime AttorneyFive Hackensack police officers were recently fired from their positions with the Hackensack Police Department. The firings were deemed necessary because of a December 2016 incident that involved an illegal search of an apartment – the search was illegal because police did not have a valid search warrant. According to Bergen County law enforcement officials, the five cops, and two other cops, were investigating an alleged drug distribution operation at an apartment complex on Prospect Avenue in Hackensack, NJ. The cops, identified as Det. Rocco Duardo, Det. Mark Gutierrez, Det. Joseph Gonzales, Sgt. Justin de la Bruyere, officer Victor Vazquez, and two others, reportedly forced their way into the residence without a warrant or any probable cause.

Unlawful Search & Seizure of Drugs at Hackensack Apartment Has Severe Legal Consequences

Now the Hackensack officers who conducted the warrantless search have been terminated. Duardo, Gutierrez, Gonzales, de la Bruyere, and Vazquez were fired from their jobs with the Hackensack Police Department. The other two cops involved in the unlawful raid could not be fired because they retired before disciplinary proceedings.

Hackensack City Manager Ted Ehrenburg issued an official statement about the terminations and said that the five officers “betrayed their oath and brought dishonor to the Hackensack Police Department.” Ehrenburg ultimately made the decision to terminate the cops after getting a recommendation from a hearing officer. According to Ehrenburg, the firings are allowed under New Jersey state law and are “in the best interests of the city and the HPD.”

Not only did the illegal search and seizure result in the firings of the Hackensack police officers, but it also led to Bergen County prosecutors deciding to drop criminal charges against 17 defendants in at eight cases. At the time of the illegal drug raid, NJ Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal was a Bergen County prosecutor. He later indicated that the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office had to drop the drug crime charges against the suspects because the illegal search by the officers meant that they would be untrustworthy as witnesses in the cases.

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