Charge Against Public Integrity Officer Arrested at North Wildwood, NJ, Bar Dropped
NORTH WILDWOOD — The case against a law enforcement officer within the state Attorney General's Office who was arrested outside an Irish bar has been dismissed, according to her defense attorney.
Danielle Oliveira, 32, faced an attempted defiant trespass charge following the incident on Sept. 24 at Keenan's Irish Pub. Oliveira is a detective sergeant for the AGO Office of Public Integrity and Accountability, which investigates violations of public trust and police-involved shootings.
North Wildwood cops, as seen on police body camera footage published by BreakingAC, accused her of trying to enter the bar after she had been and "causing a scene."
However, her attorney in mid-October called it a false arrest and said that she was a victim of the police. Timothy Smith, of Caruso Smith Picini, told us on Thursday that the charge had to be dismissed because it did not exist.
"As we maintained from the outset, Mrs. Oliveira’s arrest was a complete injustice because it stemmed from her being charged with an alleged offense that did not exist under the law, and was based upon supposed facts which did not comport with the reality of the situation," Smith said in a statement Wednesday.
While defiant trespassing is a disorderly persons offense under state law, a separate charge for attempted trespassing is not on the books, Smith said Thursday. Smith added that Oliveira was "pounced" by police outside the bar and that officers were trying to find a crime.
"Justice was served and the complaint against Mrs. Oliveira was rightfully dismissed," Timothy Smith, of Caruso Smith Picini, said in a statement. "Mrs. Oliveira has suffered unduly from her false arrest and is greatly relieved by her full and well-deserved vindication.”
We were unable to reach Ron Gelzunas, a North Wildwood municipal prosecutor who handled the case.
Different accounts of Oliveira's arrest
While cops at the scene stated that Oliveira had been "thrown out" of Keenan's, Smith told New Jersey 101.5 that Oliveira had stepped out to take a work call and that she was wearing a wristband to get back into the bar. It's not clear from video of the arrest whether a wristband was visible.
Oliveira then met a friend outside the bar, Lt. Cortney Lawrence, who works in the same office. They tried to reenter together but were denied, Smith said. Lawrence told North Wildwood police she was confused by the ordeal.
"I had no idea anything was happening," Lawrence said.
Meantime, a police report written by North Wildwood patrol cop Mitchell Calloway stated that he was informed by staff that they wanted Oliveira removed from the property. She continued to argue with staff members and was arrested after being told to leave multiple times, according to the report.
The Ocean County Prosecutor's Office is still conducting an administrative investigation into the incident, spokesman Bryan Huntenburg said Thursday. The AGO did not respond to a request for comment.