JCPD P.O. Denzel Suitt was found guilty of something, but a deceptive press release about the verdict and incorrect news reports have lead to misinformation regarding the case.
This is part 2 of a multi-part story covering the State vs. Denzel Suitt. Part 1 presented the evidence, witnesses, and arguments made by the prosecution and defense during the criminal trial in Hudson County Superior Court Judge John A. Young’s courtroom.
This story 1) exposes a deceptive statement about the verdict released by Hudson County Prosecutor Esther Suarez; 2) examines the jury’s actual verdict; and 3) seeks to correct the record regarding misinformation from news reports related to the case. The entire trial, in chronological order, can be watched on YouTube and is approximately eight hours long.
THERE MAY BE TWO SIDES TO EVERY STORY; BUT THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE TRUTH
Rotating on monitors throughout the courtroom as Asst. Prosecutor Christina Krauthamer made her closing arguments, a picture featuring Jersey City Police Department (JCPD) Officer Denzel Suitt stated “there may be two sides to every story; but there can be only one truth.”
If there was only one truth about the State vs. Denzel Suitt, it’s that Hudson County Prosecutor Esther Suarez wouldn’t hesitate to indict a black cop with no political connections, based on the weakest evidence, while zealously protecting white & politically-connected cops – even if they’re caught red-handed committing crimes.
Abandoned by his police union, Suitt entered Judge John A. Young, Jr.’s courtroom with just his girlfriend and another black cop to support him. His consolation prize? A journalist showed up to film the trial and now people will know the truth, or the next best thing, about his case.
The next best thing because it’s still unknown why the case was prosecuted as there was no actual evidence of a crime. Even worse, the jury clearly didn’t convict Suitt of what the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office (HCPO) alleged – stealing $600 from Jermaine Palms during an early morning encounter on March 25, 2018, in Jersey City’s Bayside Park.
Unfortunately, the verdict was not only baffling & embarrassing for the HCPO, they purposely misled the public about the jury’s decision. Furthermore, every news outlet that reported Suitt’s conviction, including those that cited a Real Garden State tweet or embedded video of the verdict, failed to mention the jury’s full decision.
The Jury’s Verdict
As previously stated, Esther Suarez purposely misled the public about the jury’s verdict by not mentioning the full decision. Specifically, the HCPO’s press release only mentions that Denzel Suitt was “found guilty of Theft by Unlawful Taking in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:20-3A, a fourth-degree crime; and Official Misconduct in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:30-2A, a third-degree crime. The jury found him guilty of theft in the value of $500 or less.”
That last sentence is key for two reasons: 1) the HCPO’s case against Suitt was for stealing approximately $600; and 2) the “$500 or less” was strictly related to the theft charge.
The truth is that the jury found Suitt guilty of Theft by Unlawful Taking ($500 or less) and Official Misconduct (directly related to the theft) with a benefit not greater than $200. The HCPO’s failure to mention “benefit not greater than $200” in their press release is shameless at best.
As previously stated, the verdict was embarrassing because the jury didn’t find Suitt guilty of what the HCPO had actually argued – stealing $600. It was a baffling verdict because 1) $600 is greater than $500 and 2) it seems contradictory when reading the law.
For Suitt to be guilty of Theft by Unlawful Taking in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:20-3A (fourth-degree) he’d have to steal between $200-$500, yet the jury said the benefit was not greater than $200 on the Official Misconduct charge – which was directly tied to the theft occurring while Suitt was working as a police officer.
By being found guilty of Official Misconduct with a benefit not greater than $200, is Suitt still guilty of Theft by Unlawful Taking (fourth-degree, value between $200-$500)? Unless the jury found him guilty of stealing exactly $200 – which seems impossible based on the evidence presented at trial – it’s hard to understand how he could be guilty of Theft by Unlawful Taking.
Additionally, a theft less than $200 is a disorderly persons offense and not an indictable offense. So if Suitt’s not guilty of Theft by Unlawful Taking, how can he be guilty of the Official Misconduct charge that’s directly tied to the Theft by Unlawful Taking charge?
If you found that confusing, you’re not alone. Based on his reaction when the verdict was finished being delivered, Suitt himself went from shellshocked to perplexed. Even some members of the HCPO sitting in the crowd looked mystified, but that’s no excuse for misleading the public by telling “their side of the story” regarding the verdict.
Hopefully HCPO spokesperson Jennifer Morrill can issue a second press release clarifying the verdict. As well, instead of being glorified stenographers, maybe all the news outlets that published articles about the verdict could ask Suarez some tough questions and update their readers with correct information.
Of note, due to postponements, Suitt is set to be sentenced by Judge Young tomorrow, January 26, 2021. (UPDATE: Sentencing was postponed again) Watch verdict below:
Here’s the strangest fact of all – if it weren’t for the Kansas City Chiefs winning Super Bowl LIV, no one would know the truth about the “woke” prosecution of a black cop abandoned by his white police union leadership.
Simply put, it was Mahomes Magic that inspired this Jewish journalist to show up for the trial – two months after a terror attack at a Kosher Market in Jersey City made me wonder if the truth still mattered.
Nearly one year later, with the Chiefs and Mahomes headed back to the Super Bowl, part 3 of the multi-part story covering the State vs. Denzel Suitt will begin to tell the shocking truth regarding the $600 case against a Jersey City cop.