Routine traffic stop leads to accusations of police brutality

CLARK, NJ – According to the Clark Police Department, a routine traffic stop led to multiple arrests, but family members are alleging brutality on the part of the arresting officer.

According to a very short paragraph included in a crime report from the Clark Police Department, which is provided to LocalSource weekly, on July 31, Police Officer Joseph Treston arrested Fortunato Riga, 30, in the vicinity of Stone Street in Rahway. He was later released on his own recognizance pending a court date.

Also arrested at the scene was Antoinette Dilorio, 61, of Rahway for obstruction and resisting arrest.
That is all that is included in the crime report provided to LocalSource. However, The family members of Dilorio told WABC that the woman’s front teeth were knocked out and that she suffered multiple fractures. And Riga told WABC that his mother was trying to defend him after the officer removed him from the car.

All additional inquiries were directed to Mark Spivey, the director of communications for the Union County Prosecutor’s Office. Spivey declined to comment on the investigation, but did say the Special Prosecutor’s Unit is investigating the traffic stop.

However, according to Mayor Sal Bonacorso, the occupants of the vehicle began screaming as soon as they were pulled over for running a stop sign, and the driver refused to provide the officer with his driver’s license. The officer removed Riga from the car, Bonacorso told LocalSource on Tuesday, and the mother exited the vehicle and jumped on the officer’s back, prompting a defensive action.

“When an officer asks you for your license, let’s do something crazy,” Bonacorso said sarcastically. “Let’s give it to him.”
But when the officer pulled the driver, Riga, from the vehicle, Bonacorso says the events took a different turn.

“And then this woman jumped the officer from behind. And every officer in trained at the academy, when someone jumps on your back, you don’t stop and check their age. You job is to get that person off of you.”
Bonacorso told NJ.com he stands by the officer, who is a former marine.

“When I spoke to the officer to show my support, I asked him one question,” Bonacorso said. “Did you do your job correctly? His response was ‘Yes, sir, I absolutely did.”
Bonacorso said the police chief also stands behind his officer.

“I spoke to the chief who did his initial questioning, and he relayed to me that he believes this is a good job and that the officer worked in a professional manner,” he said. “This officer is very even tempered. Very level headed. He is a veteran. He is the type of guy we want in our department.”

When asked about dashboard cameras in Clark police cruisers, Bonacorso told LocalSource that the department has been working on it for some time, and the police chief was actually at a meeting getting a live demonstration of one of these cameras when the incident took place. According to the mayor, the new chief has been working to install the cameras in every cruiser since he took over the top job recently. Currently, no Clark police cars have cameras, but Bonacorso said that will likely change soon, and not because of this incident.

“The chief is working on it. It is something we are going to have a lot sooner than later, and not because of this incident. In today’s society, the police officer is always wrong, and the cameras are important. But if one of our officers ever acted in an inappropriate manner, we would want to be able to see that as well.”

Riga, the driver, told WABC his mother was trying to defend him because “she knew there was no reason I should have been pulled over.”

The Clark Police Department stated Riga ran a red light, and also suffered traffic violations. NJ.com is reporting that Riga’s license is currently not suspended, but the 30-year-old driver has suffered 26 license suspensions and 33 traffic violations since 2002 according to the New Jersey Department of Motor Vehicles.

One Response to "Routine traffic stop leads to accusations of police brutality"

  1. Bob Barrett   August 7, 2015 at 7:34 pm

    Every driver at one time has probably been pulled over by a policeman for a traffic violation. The driver, required by law, provides the drivers license, car registration, insurance certificate requested by the police officer. The driver may receive a ticket or warning and is gone his way without any confrontation. When a passenger confronts the officer for a valid traffic violation that is a crime. The
    driver and his mother obstructed justice and are the responsibility for the confrontation not the police officer.