Prosecutor: Jersey City cop indicted for firing service weapon during off-duty altercation

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A Jersey City police officer has been indicted for firing his service weapon in Lincoln Park while off-duty in July, Hudson County Prosecutor Esther Suarez announced. 

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

Cesar Celestino, 46, of Jersey City, is charged with possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, two counts of aggravated assault, second degree endangering the welfare of a child, third degree endangering the welfare of a child and false incrimination, Suarez said in a statement.

The Internal Affairs Unit of the Office of the Hudson County Prosecutor arrested Celestino this morning after he surrendered himself without incident at the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office, officials said.

He is currently housed at the Hudson County Correctional Facility in Kearny and made his first appearance on these charges via video link earlier today in Criminal Justice Reform Court in Jersey City.

This case was presented to the grand jury following an investigation by the Hudson County
Prosecutor’s Office Internal Affairs Unit, authorities said.

Furthermore, it is standard protocol for the Prosecutor’s Office to investigate any incident involving the discharge of an officer’s weapon in Hudson County.

Based on a nine-minute surveillance video released by the prosecutor’s office, Celestino pulled a gun on a man who he was involved in a physical confrontation with around 2:13 p.m. on July 28th.

The video does not contain audio and is taken from a distance, it is not completely clear exactly when Celestino fired his weapon.

Otherwise, the video shows Celestino walking around in the park talking on his cell phone long after the confrontation has ended.

Celestino was promoted to detective, along with over a dozen other officers, during a ceremony held in July 2017.