- Associated Press - Saturday, June 7, 2014

HACKENSACK, N.J. (AP) - Two Bergen County Police officers have been reinstated following their acquittal on charges they lied to investigators and removed evidence from the scene of a 2010 police shooting.

The Record (https://bit.ly/1hqgey4) reports Saheed Baksh and Jeffrey Roberts returned to work Friday. County Police Chief Brian Higgins told the newspaper that it was too soon to say when the officers will return to regular duties or where they will ultimately be assigned.

For now, Higgins said he “wants them to ease back” into the job as remaining issues are resolved.

It’s not clear how much the two officers are due in back wages and whether the county is responsible for their legal bills. The two were suspended without pay for two years as the case progressed through the legal system.

It’s also not known what administrative discipline can - or will - be taken against the pair.

“We’re trying to straighten everything out,” Jeanne Baratta, chief of staff to County Executive Kathleen Donovan, told the newspaper. “There’s a lot of moving parts to this.”

The charges against the officers stemmed from a pursuit that went through six towns before ending in Bogota, where Baksh allegedly fired two shots at a suspect who wasn’t hit.

Prosecutors claimed the officers didn’t promptly report the shooting and lied about issuing a verbal warning to the car’s driver.

Some critics have questioned why county Prosecutor John Molinelli pursued the criminal case, and defense lawyers have said their clients were “collateral damage” in a feud between the prosecutor and Donovan over a controversial plan to merge the county police force into the county Sheriff’s Department.

Molinelli has denied those claims.


Information from: The Record (Woodland Park, N.J.), https://www.northjersey.com

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