The problematic evidence used to convict a Jersey City cop

Real Garden State analyzes the investigation conducted by JCPD Sgt. Jocelyn Roldan (Torres) and presented to a jury by HCPO Asst. Prosecutor Christina Krauthamer during the trial of P.O. Denzel Suitt.

Christina Krauthamer - Jocelyn Roldan Torres - Jermaine Palms - Jonathan Davis - State vs Denzel Suitt

Left-to-right: AP Christina Krauthamer, Sgt. Jocelyn Roldan Torres, Jermaine Palms, and Jonathan Davis from the State vs Denzel Suitt. (PHOTOS: Real Garden State)

This is part 3 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 February 2020 criminal trial in Hudson County Superior Court Judge John A. Young’s courtroom.

Part 2 exposed how a deceptive statement about the jury’s guilty verdict by Hudson County Prosecutor Esther Suarez led to public misinformation. The entire trial, in chronological order, can be watched on YouTube and is approximately eight hours long.

This story takes a critical look at the evidence collected by Sgt. Jocelyn Roldan (Torres) of the Jersey City Police Department’s (JCPD) Internal Affairs Unit (IAU) and arguments presented to a jury by A.P. Christina Krauthamer of the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office (HCPO).

Specifically, JCPD P.O. Denzel Suitt was accused of stealing $600 during a stop of Jermaine Palms and his god-brother Jonathan Davis in Jersey City’s Bayside Park on March 25, 2018. The following are three problems related to the evidence and arguments presented during the trial.

The Domino’s CCTV video

One of the main arguments made by Krauthamer is that Palms first noticed his money was missing prior to purchasing pizza at Domino’s on Communipaw Avenue around 1:45 AM on March 25, 2018.

There’s one significant problem with that argument.

The Domino’s Pizza CCTV video is timestamped March 24, 2018, yet it’s clear any encounter between Suitt and Palms occurred on March 25, 2018. According to Krauthamer & Roldan, the only issue with the timestamp was that it was one hour behind – which means that Palms and Davis arrived at approximately 1:44 AM, not 12:44 AM.

Domino's CCTV Denzel Suitt

Domino’s CCTV Timestamps from Denzel Suitt trial.

However, the timestamp on the video appeared to be set in military time based on a change from 12:59 to 13:00 – which would actually make it 1 PM on March 24, 2018. Based on it clearly being nighttime in the footage presented to the jury, that time would be inaccurate, too.

For Krauthamer’s timeline of events to be accurate, the video’s timestamp must have been thirteen hours behind instead of one hour behind. Incidentally, two JCPD officers were infamously charged by the HCPO within 24 hours of a “hangry incident” at the same Domino’s less than 72 hours later. Watch Jersey City police incident at Communipaw Domino’s (March 27, 2018) below:

It’s hard to believe Domino’s CCTV timestamps from the hangry incident or Palms could be altered by the HCPO. Given the short time period between the two incidents, CCTV video capturing Suitt’s fellow officers might hold the key to knowing the accurate time of CCTV video capturing Palms.

That’s because we know when the two cops approached the Domino’s manager and it should confirm any time discrepancies. Notably, JCPD IAU couldn’t have obtained footage of Palms prior to the infamous altercation.

Unfortunately, Real Garden State has been unable to decipher the timestamp on CCTV footage from the hangry incident. However, the HCPO should be in possession of original videos – so it shouldn’t be hard for them to find out and provide that information to their political surrogates.

Domino's CCTV - Rodney Clark - Courntey Solomon

Cell phone image of Domino’s CCTV from Hangry Incident recorded no later than 5 PM on March 28, 2018.

The 9-1-1 call

Let’s forget about the timestamp issue with the Domino’s CCTV footage and accept Krauthamer & Roldan’s one hour discrepancy. Instead, let’s focus on evidence with no time accuracy issue – specifically the 9-1-1 call.

According to Krauthamer & Roldan, at about 2:02 AM, Palms & Davis leave Domino’s in a white sedan. It appears the vehicle is old and probably not in the best condition.

Additionally, they stated Davis placed a 9-1-1 call to report the alleged robbery at about 2:02 AM and the duration was approximately 6 minutes and 44 seconds. The 9-1-1 operator, dismissive at first, eventually took information from Davis – including that the caller was standing on Bidwell Ave. & Ocean Ave. nearly three minutes into the call.

The timeline presented and 9-1-1 call raise logical concerns (updated to include Google Maps image):

  1. With little to no traffic, it takes 5 minutes to travel by car from Communipaw Domino’s to Bidwell Ave. & Ocean Ave.

    Communipaw Domino’s to Ocean Ave. & Bidwell Ave. in Jersey City (Google Maps)

  2. If it took 2 minutes to get in contact with the 9-1-1 operator (a significantly long time), plus 3 minutes until Davis states his location, it’s hard to believe he went from Communipaw Domino’s to standing on the corner of Bidwell Ave. & Ocean Ave. in five minutes.
  3. Even if it took 4 minutes to get in contact with the 9-1-1 operator (almost unimaginable), plus 3 minutes until Davis states his location, it’s hard to believe him and Palms completed the trip without hearing an automobile engine, turn signals, or a car door opening & closing during the call.

Listen to initial 9-1-1 call placed by Jonathan Davis at 2:02 AM below (starts at 38:17 mark):

The mysterious call, JCPD South District CCTV, and The Flip/Early Blow

Two other phone calls involving Davis were played during Roldan’s testimony. One was a dispatcher calling Davis back at 2:23 AM. The other was Davis calling the JCPD South District at an unknown time. The mysterious call was brief and apparently captured an argument between Davis & Palms.

Furthermore, Krauthamer & Roldan presented CCTV footage from the JCPD South District showing Palms & Davis arriving at the precinct around 2:39 AM on March 25, 2018. Because both men exited out of the passenger side of the white sedan, it’s clear someone else was operating the vehicle by that time. The men left the police precinct after two and a half minutes.

According to Roldan’s testimony, the officer working the desk during that shift was Craig Kutiak; however, unlike other officers Davis encountered, Kutiak was not interviewed/asked to leave a report by the JCPD IAU investigator.

Based on past practice in the JCPD South District, it’s likely Kutiak wasn’t at work when Davis & Palms entered the building due to the Flip/Early Blow. Hudson County Superior Court Judge Kimberly Espinales-Maloney explains the JCPD’s Flip/Early Blow below:

Superior Court Judge Kimberly Espinales-Maloney explains the Jersey City Police Department’s Flip/Early Blow.

In fact, according to JCPD sources, based on past practice and the midnight rolls from 3-24-18 going into 3-25-18, it’s likely that P.O. Jermaine Truesdale was working the desk in relief of Kutiak.

As well, JCPD sources who’ve worked with Truesdale and have listened to the mysterious call believe the voice answering is him, not Kutiak. Listen to mysterious call answered by the JCPD South District at unknown time below (starts at 58:19 mark):

Publisher’s Note

Stay tuned for part 4 of the multi-part story covering the State vs. Denzel Suitt. It will expose the witnesses who didn’t testify, the investigation contradicting Krauthamer’s arguments, and one scandalous omission regarding Palms’ record.

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