JCPD P.O. Angelo Alas suffered a fractured cheek bone during an encounter with Belmar cops at Bar A on July 4, 2019, according to a lawsuit.
An incident involving “blue-on-blue violence” at Bar Anticipation (Bar A) in Lake Como, NJ, resulted in criminal charges for a Jersey City Police Department (JCPD) officer and a civil complaint for the Belmar Police Department (BPD) – which patrols the small town that lacks its own police force.
On the night of July 4, 2019, JCPD P.O. Angelo Alas was arrested by BPD officers and charged with Defiant Trespass, Interference of Business, and Assault on a Law Enforcement Officer.
According to a police report written by BPD P.O. Kevin Jones, Jr., at approximately 9:50 PM on the night of the arrest, Alas was “engaged in a verbal dispute” with a Bar A staff member after “being denied entry into the establishment due to his level of intoxication.”
While protesting the denial of entry, Jones claims that Alas presented his police badge and loudly stated “I’m a cop, this is how you’re going to do me?” At that point, Alas was failing to comply with requests that he leave Bar A’s premises and BPD P.O. Anthony Steneck intervened, per the report.
The report claims Steneck advised Alas he was no longer welcome and needed to move out to a sidewalk. In response, the off-duty JCPD cop allegedly pulled out his badge again and stated “I’m one of you guys, you can’t do anything for me?” Advised a second time by Steneck to vacate the establishment’s property, Alas was quoted saying “my family is in there, I’m not going anywhere, this is bullshit.”
After failing to comply, Steneck placed his hand on Alas’ back and began guiding him towards the property line, but Alas “turned sharply and shrugged” Steneck’s hand, per the report. Jones reported that Alas then faced up with Steneck and began walking towards him while yelling “THIS IS FUCKING BULLSHIT!”
Due to Steneck being approximately 5’09/195 lbs versus Alas who is described as 5’11/240 lbs, Jones felt the need to assist in that moment, according to his report.
Jones says that Alas failed to comply with his loud command to move to the sidewalk and an unidentified female with Alas pleaded “let’s go Angelo, you’re gonna get arrested!” When Jones placed his hand on Alas’ chest and began walking forward, Alas attempted to push back against Jones’ hand, which forced Jones to push Alas in anticipation of a “hostile movement.”
When pushed by Jones, Alas tripped over a parking tube and fell backwards onto his back, according to the report. Alas allegedly responded by screaming “I’M A FUCKING COP AND THIS IS HOW YOU’RE GONNA DO ME MOTHER FUCKER?”
BPD P.O. Joseph Clayton arrived to the scene as Alas squared up with Jones, assumed a boxer stance, and yelled “LET’S SHOOT THE ONES THEN MOTHER FUCKER!” – which is slang for a one-on-one fight, per the report. At that moment, Jones advised Alas he was under arrest and a struggle ensued. Details according to the report are as follows:
- Jones attempted to gain control of Alas’ right arm to secure him in handcuffs, but Alas pulled away and grabbed Jones’ patrol uniform in the area below the collar with his left hand. With Alas gaining control of Jones shirt, Jones believed the Alas was trying to limit his movement in an attempt to strike him with his closed fist.
- Anticipating Alas striking him, Jones struck Alas on the left side of his face with a closed right fist. Alas stumbled backwards, ripping Jones’ uniform and pulling the lapel microphone off.
- Alas then fell to the ground, at which point Jones mounted him and began giving verbal commands to “stop resisting.” Alas supposedly refused to comply by rolling onto his stomach and pulling his arms under his body.
- Steneck and Clayton then came to Jones’ assistance and began attempting to remove Alas’ arms out from under his body. Due to Alas not complying, Clayton provided “softening blows with a closed fist” to Alas’ rib and leg area.
- As he continued to resist, Steneck utilized Oleoresin Capsicum (“pepper spray”) – which resulted in Alas providing both hands for arrest. The report states Alas’ back was so large he was “secured utilizing two sets of double locked handcuffs.”
Following the arrest, Alas was transported to Belmar Police Headquarters and was provided medical treatment for “injuries sustained while resisting as well as exposure to Oleoresin Capsicum.” After his information was obtained, Alas was transported to Jersey Shore University Medical Center for further medical evaluation, per the report.
Jones claimed he sustained injuries to his right hand & elbow and Clayton sustained an injury to his right hand.
On February 10, 2020, Alas signed an Order of Postponement to allow his admission into a twelve-month Pretrial Intervention (PTI) program. The criminal charges against Alas have since been dismissed.
In a lawsuit filed in state Superior Court on May 22, 2020, Alas alleges Clayton, Jones, and Steneck utilized excessive use of force by punching him in the face, ribs, and chest while he was already on the ground in compliance.
Alas claims he continues to incur considerable medical expenses from being examined and treated for injuries, including a fractured cheek bone. As well, he claims to have suffered emotional injuries, sustained a loss of wages and other special damages, and was prevented from performing his usual daily activities – including his job as a JCPD officer.
Alas’ litigation remains active and also names the ownership of Bar A as defendants.
It’s not clear whether any of the officers involved in the July 4, 2019, incident received Internal Affairs (IA) discipline. The judge in the civil case has ordered the JCPD provide Alas with an IA report generated by their investigation of the incident.
Of note, Real Garden State previously reported a separate lawsuit against BPD regarding an incident at Bar A on July 6, 2019. In that complaint, Stephen P. Savino claims he was also brutally assaulted by Belmar cops after being denied entry to Bar A.
Both Alas and Savino’s arrests were mentioned in a police blotter published by TAPinto Belmar/Lake Como on October 1, 2019.
A message left with the BPD police chief seeking comment on Alas and Savino’s lawsuits was not returned. Alas’ attorney, Steve D. Byoun, did not respond to an email seeking comment on his client’s complaint. If/when comments are provided, this article will be updated.