Corruption Charge for NJ Trooper Accused of Stalking Woman on Turnpike
TRENTON – A 29-year-old state trooper is facing a new charge stemming from accusations that he stalked a female motorist in his patrol vehicle while on duty early last year.
Trooper Michael Patterson, of Bayonne, was indicted by a state grand jury Thursday on second-degree official misconduct.
Patterson also is charged with fourth-degree counts of stalking and tampering with public records, which were first announced back in June.
In late January 2020 on the New Jersey Turnpike, Patterson pulled over a woman about 9:30 p.m. one night, letting her go with a warning, according to the state Attorney General’s Office.
He then turned off his dashboard camera before pulling her over again a few minutes later, as she exited the Turnpike at Exit 11, just for the purpose of hitting on her, state officials said.
Patterson then proceeded to follow the woman to her home in his patrol vehicle, according to investigators.
“The New Jersey State Police maintain the highest standards of conduct for their state troopers, standards which the vast majority uphold as faithful and honorable guardians of the public,” Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said in a written statement.
“Trooper Patterson allegedly violated those standards and the law, using his authority not to act as a guardian, but to put a female motorist in fear. This indictment reflects our resolve to hold officers accountable if they betray the public’s trust with this type of conduct,” he added.
If convicted of second-degree official misconduct, the trooper could face a sentence of five to 10 years in state prison, including a mandatory minimum term of five years parole ineligibility, and a fine of up to $150,000.
Fourth-degree charges carry a sentence of up to 18 months in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
With previous reporting by Sergio Bichao