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Saturday, October 22, 2011

Hudson County sheriff's officer charged with trying to stop Jersey City cops from arresting 2 men
The Jersey Journal - - by Charles Hack - October 22, 2011

Hudson County Sheriff's Officer Maritza Casales was charged with obstruction of a governmental function, authorities said. An off-duty Hudson County sheriff's officer was charged with obstructing with the law after trying stop a Jersey City police officer from arresting a man outside a bar Saturday morning, police reports said. Sheriff's Officer Maritza C. Casales, 44, of Kennedy Boulevard in Bayonne, was issued with a summons for obstruction of a government function, police said. Casales, who had almost seven years on the force, was suspended without pay today, pending further investigation following the arrest said, Michael Makarski, a spokesman for the Sheriff's Office. Two men involved in the incident, Victor M. Matos, Jr., 28, of West Side Avenue and Felix Antonio Torres, 35, of Jordan Avenue were both charged with disorderly conduct, obstructing a government function and resisting arrest, reports said. The Jersey City Police Department gave this account of the incident: Police were called to Summit Avenue and Charles Street at 2:29 a.m. on the report of a large, unruly crowd outside the Laguna Lounge. The first two cops to arrive saw Matos yelling loudly, flailing his arms and pushing people, and when someone yelled "Cops!" Matos yelled "F--- the cops! F--- those cops! I don't give a f---!" One officer tried to place Matos under arrest and Matos shouted "F--- you!" at the cop. As Matos struggled against being handcuffed by one officer, the other cop tried to keep the hostile crowd -- which was shouting obscenities at the police officers -- from jumping into the fracas. When Torres tried to interfere with the arrest, the second cop struggled with him and a voice came out of the crowd -- "I'm on the job." The two cops, struggling to restrain Torres and Matos, believed it was an off-duty officer that would assist them, but then Casales said "You can't do that!" and got between one of the officers and Torres, allowing Torres to escape momentarily, police said. Torres and Matos were finally subdued and arrested when other Jersey City cops arrived, and that's when Casales "melted away" in the crowd that began to disperse. The sheriff's officer later showed up at the North District to check on the status of the two men who were charged, but the arresting officers recognized her and she was issued a summons, police said. Police say she admitted to them that she is a law enforcement officer and had tried to interfere with the arrests. One of police officer was taken to Christ Hospital after suffering a pain in the lower back.

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