Black Law Enforcement Serving Community (BLESC), along with Black activists, rallied around a former Jersey City Police Officer Denzel Suitt, who they said was wrongfully convicted of official misconduct last year ahead of his sentencing, calling for a new trial.
By Daniel Ulloa/Hudson County View
On March 25, 2018, Police Officer Denzel Suitt conducted a stop of Jermaine Palms and Jonathan Davis, allegedly stealing $600 in the process, according to the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office. A jury ultimately convicted him of theft in the value of $500 or less, official misconduct with a benefit not greater than $200.
The press event came after Real Garden State published an in-depth feature questioning the legitimacy of the case.
“Nearly all the circumstantial evidence, with his witness testimony and investigation conducted by the Jersey City PD Internal Affairs Unit and Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office, has dubious issues,” BLESC President Anthony Smith said outside of their headquarters on Martin Luther King Drive yesterday.
He added the community should come together and stand up for Suitt.
Vice President John Boamah said Suitt had been “dealt a horrible hand in life” that he didn’t deserve.
“A brother that was raised in the foster care system, a brother who was forced to be silent and never really had a voice. And through all of those adversaries, he preserved. He stayed out of trouble when he easily could have been in trouble, he could have easily been a statistic in our system. But he chose to do positive things in our community,” Boamah added.
Despite these facts, he still managed to go through the police academy and become a Jersey City police officer.
Boamah also explained that Suitt is accused of stealing money from a motor vehicle he pulled over, but said the jury’s verdict was not consistent with the evidence presented by the state.
“[There was] no evidence supporting the fact that he took this money, the witnesses were shaky if even present, consistent lying by the accuser, which was not presented in the court case, and he was found guilty of taking $200 or less – which makes no sense. If you’re accusing him of taking $600, why are you no convicting him of taking less than $200?”
Ward F council candidate Frank “Educational” Gilmore called it “baffled and mind boggling” that the community has been begging the HCPO for justice, for years, to no avail.
“It is baffling and mind boggling to me that for the last several years we have cried and protested and begged the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office to give the community justice,” activist and Ward F council candidate Frank “Educational” Gilmore said.
“We witnessed an officer have a young man run over not once but twice, and then the Hudson County Prosecutor’s office did not pursue this young man in the manner in which they should have pursued him,” he exclaimed.
“We witnessed another incident where a police officer used his baton in a reckless manner swiping and whacking teenagers across the back and the head, and again the county prosecutor team has done nothing.”
He said people should write the judge and asked elected officials to stand with Suitt.
“We’re asking for Gov. Phil Murphy and Attorney General [Gurbir] Grewal. I want them all, their whole team, to look into this case. Look into everything, look into the statements, the evidence that was collected, the witnesses statements that were presented, look at the jury, look at all aspects of this case,” activist and former Ward B Councilman Chris Gadsden said.
Suitt, who was initially scheduled for sentencing today which has since been moved to June 2nd, attended Tuesday’s media briefing and gave some brief remarks, declining to speak at length since the case is still pending.
“As of now, I’d just like to say I do agree with everything that has been said here today. I do believe that I face an injustice and I hope that someday in the near future that it does get corrected.”
A spokeswoman for the HCPO did not return an email seeking comment.