"My dog is dead, my wife's been traumatized, and I'm selling my house soon"

From Romenesko’s site

This was pretty bad day

These are the kinds of incidents that make you want to go all Charlie Bronson on people. There will be no justice here.

OK, for that, they shouldn’t just throw the book at him–they should throw the heaviest, most leather-bound copy of the Oxford English Dictionary they can find, and then beat him over the head with it. Many, many times.

Wait a minute. This guy was fired from the police force ten years ago, and he’s still running around arresting people? Isn’t there some sort of a law against that, or something?

His penis must be really really small.

He was fired from the Woodbridge police department. He is now employed by the state Department of Human Services police.

From the OP’s link. From what I can tell, Sexton used way too much force, and no judgment at all. The woman thought that she was getting kidnapped, not arrested, and so she was trying to get away from him.

Yeah, she shouldn’t have had the dog in her vehicle while she was grocery shopping. But it seems to me that this Sexton was just looking for an excuse to take someone in. He didn’t seem to really care about the dog at all. And, of course, the dog ended up dead.

I hope Sexton gets the book thrown at him, and he is barred from ever being hired in any police or security position ever again.

Some other reports of the incident:


Officer Sexton is stating that when he confronted Ms Ciardiello, she ordered the dog to attack him. (But she was not charged with any crime.) It certainly appears that the officer handled the situation very poorly, especially in light of the “crime” being committed.

Here comes Lissa to play Devil’s Advocate. . . .

Seeing a dog in a car when it’s hot tempts me to knock out someone’s teeth, too. I’ve often wished I had the power to arrest people for it. Perhaps this guy felt the same way. (I gather from the article that he really* does *have some sort of arrest/detention powers.)

If the woman defied his authority and pushed past him, grabbing her isn’t all that out of line. Cops do it all the time. (I know he’s not a cop, but he does seem to have some legal authority.)

Secondly, what if she DID sic the dog on him? He claims he was bitten-- does he have any bite marks? We’ve really only heard her side of the story. Perhaps she was abusive and violent and the dog viscious.

I’m not saying I believe any of those things to be necessarily true, but it’s certainly possible. My point is that we shouldn’t condemn this man without all of the facts-- certainly not on the basis of news articles designed to inflame moral outrage.

If he’s not a cop, what “authority” does he have to grab her?


What do you have to say about this part of the officer’s past though, Lissa?

From the article linked in the OP.

I see what you’re saying, but there is also some evidence that maybe he is a bit power mad after all, and prone to excessive force.

Sure, it sounds like he really is a jerk, but, again, we don’t know the full story. WHY did he try to arrest the superior officer? It could possibly be that the superior officer was really doing something wrong . . . there’s just no way of knowing from the article.

I try to reserve judgement until I know more of the facts. From the article and what information was presented, he sounds like a real asshole, but I’ve personally seen cases where the media presented such a story that the public was howling for someone’s blood, when really, they didn’t do anything wrong. The media selectively presents information, and it’s often skewed to make the situation look as outrageous as possible.

Yeah, where there’s smoke, there’s usually fire, but it’s still possible that he was unjustly fired, and that he didn’t do anything particularly excessive in this case. We just don’t know.

From Little Nemo’s first link:

I wonder how I’d react if a stranger, wearing no uniform, etc., tried to pull me from my vehicle. What an asshole.

Actually, it’s hard to point to anything that the county did correctly there. Actually, that’s stating it lightly; complete, total f**k up is the term that comes to mind.

Starting with the original complaint. Yeah, it was 90 degrees and humid, but it was also, according to the article, * evening *. We’re not talking full, direct June sunlight on the car. We’re talking late August, late afternoon sun, with the window cracked open. To me, that’s already a judgement call on the initial complaint. Followed by an attempted arrest by an off-duty officer in some weird division who apparently doesn’t bother identifying himself * and * uses enough force to cause bruises and knock out a tooth. Sorry – any reasonable officer should know enough to be able to unambiguously identify himself and be able to match the force to the occasion.

Then, once the county has forcibly taken custody of the dog on a cruelty investigation, one could reasonably expect them to follow a standard of custody as high or higher than the owner’s. Which does not involve letting the dog loose to die in traffic.

Just a total embarassment for everyone concerned, and I hope they get their asses sued off.

It works like this. Assuming New Jersey has a similar system to New York’s there are police officers and peace officers. Both have the power to arrest people. But peace officers are only required to exercise their powers in certain situations; basically when they are on-duty and performing their jobs. A police officer, in theory, is required to arrest any serious criminal he or she encounters, regardless of whether or not they’re on duty.

I’m a prison guard, which makes me a peace officer. Another doper once asked me what would happen if they lit up a joint at a dopefest; would I arrest them? I told them the only people I’m obligated to arrest in public are escaped convicts, people helping convicts to escape, or people trying to smuggle contraband into a prison.

Then I arrested him anyway, just because I could.

But seriously, assuming NJ laws are similar to NY laws, Sexton was under no legal obligation to do anything unless he was an on-duty officer who enforces animal protection laws.