The Hudson County government says no body camera footage exists from an August riot at their jail’s maximum security unit, which they revealed after a two-month effort to get a response to an Open Public Records Act request.
On August 26th, the Hudson County Correctional Facility in Kearny was placed on lockdown and pepper spray was deployed due to a riot inside their maximum security unit, as HCV first reported.
The following day, this reporter submitted an OPRA request to the county seeking all body camera footage from the incident. Such requests are supposed to be answered in seven business days.
New Jersey Attorney General Directive 2021-5 does not specifically name corrections officers, but the AG’s Office said last year Hudson County corrections officers were one of four local law enforcement agencies equipped with body cameras.
After about a month of no correspondence, Assistant County Counsel Robert J. Pompliano said on October 4th “Presently I am attempting to confirm if there is in fact video & what agency may have possession of the same to respond to your request.”
Then, on October 8th, he said that “given the nature of the video requested,” the request had to be reviewed with the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office, as well as the county’s OPRA officer, therefore a 10-day extension was needed.
On October 21st, Pompliano said another extension was needed until October 29th, providing no explanation beyond “the matter is being reviewed.”
Finally, on October 29th, he stated “there are no body cam videos for the incident referred to in your request.”
He did not respond to an email asking why this determination took about two months and/or if this would be a violation of the AG’s body camera guidelines for New Jersey law enforcement officers.