A Newark councilwoman who intervened in a traffic stop involving her nephew back in 2006 could be removed from office for her participation in the incident.
Essex County Prosecutor Paula Dow last week filed a court motion and wrote a letter citing state statutes that call for public officials to be removed from office, following serious convictions.
A municipal court found Councilwoman Dana Rone guilty of obstruction of justice for her involvement in the incident, in which she verbally attacked a Newark police officer and told him that she “was a councilwoman,” in what appeared to be an attempt to use her office to help out her nephew.
Ms. Rone appealed the decision to a state Superior Court, but the higher court upheld the conviction.
Following the Superior Court decision the Essex County prosecutor cited the removal statute, and has asked for the councilwoman to step down effective on June 27, 2008, the date of the final court decision.
Earlier this month, Trenton Councilwoman Annette Lartigue reportedly told an officer, over a cell phone, to “stand down”, after the officer pulled over Ms. Lartigue’s daughter for several motor vehicle violations.
During the traffic stop the daughter allegedly told the officers that her mother was a councilwoman and that she “was related to” Mayor Douglas H. Palmer and then managed to get the councilwoman on the phone.
The daughter eventually received several motor vehicle summonses, and Ms. Lartigue got some unneeded media attention because of her involvement in the stop. But luckily, justice was served because the officer rightly went ahead and issued tickets, despite statements about public office and power from some of those involved.