Jersey City Police Lt. Robert Kearns, president of the Jersey City Police Superior Officers Association, as well as an ally of Mayor Steven Fulop, appeared to drive recklessly down John F. Kennedy Blvd. after leaving a bar in North Arlington, NJ.
For Jersey City Police Superior Officers Association (JCPSOA) President Robert Kearns, a lieutenant in the Jersey City Police Department (JCPD), appearing to drive recklessly down John F. Kennedy Boulevard might not be a big deal if “professional courtesy” – highlighted in a recent Inside Edition report featuring JCPSOA 1st VP Vincent Corso – means there will likely be no consequences.
After receiving a tip that JCPSOA officials were at a bar in North Arlington, NJ during the afternoon of June 15, 2016, Real Jersey City decided to scope out the scene – ultimately identifying Kearns, Corso (who is Kearns’ brother-in-law), and others congregating at the location.
At approximately 9:05 PM, Kearns, Corso, and another man were spotted after exiting the bar, heading towards their parked vehicles. Corso appeared to walk in the wrong direction at first, though, there’s the possibility he didn’t know where Kearns’ vehicle had been parked.
After identifying Kearns’ vehicle, and witnessing them enter the vehicle, this journalist guessed correctly that they were headed to Jersey City and drove in front of them, until pulling into a gas station so their vehicle would pass.
While following them back to Jersey City, the vehicle Kearns was operating hit speeds nearing 50 MPH and blew through not one, but two lights, en route to the West District police station.
The first time was through the light at Kennedy Blvd. and Fairmount Ave. – the same intersection where Stephen Clifford was fatally struck by JCPD Officer Michael Spolizino’s vehicle. As reported by the Jersey Journal, authorities said Spolizino was driving 60 miles per hour – 35 MPH over the speed limit – when his vehicle struck Clifford. A jury eventually found Spolizino not guilty of death by auto and leaving the scene of a fatal accident.
The second time occurred at the intersection of Harrison and Kennedy Blvd. – when Kearns’ vehicle accelerated past this journalist’s vehicle, then braked hard while blowing through the light.
Eventually Kearns turned on Communipaw Ave. and headed towards the JCPD’s West District to presumably drop off Corso.
In response to an Open Public Records Act (OPRA) request for CCTV footage from the West District from that night, the City Clerk’s Office issued an unaffordable special service charge of $768.00 for them to review the videos for security reasons – with no guarantee of receiving any vital footage.
A request by lawyers representing Real Jersey City in ongoing OPRA litigation asked the city to provide a private viewing of the CCTV footage, to save time and analyze the videos, but was denied by Fulop Administration attorneys.
One of the people at the bar with Kearns and Corso was Deputy Chief Mark Hussey, a long-time friend of both union leaders, and connected to multiple incidents involving Corso, declined to comment when asked by Real Jersey City if Kearns and Corso were drinking that night.
The questioning of Hussey came during a June 23, 2016 meeting – advertised as “speed kills” – by local residents, many of whom were inspired to take action following the death of Clifford. Lt. Terrence Crowley, the city’s top traffic safety cop, did not attend the meeting.
Crowley, who serves as Sergeant at Arms for the JCPSOA, was captured by Real Jersey City leaving hours early from off-duty jobs he signed-up for – spurring an investigation by the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office (HCPO) with an unknown outcome at this time.
A spokesperson for the JCPSOA, as well as city spokesperson Jennifer Morrill, declined to comment on an extended video showing the full trip through Jersey City to the West District Precinct. The extended video was also sent to the entire Jersey City Council, yet no response was provided.
Deputy Chief Joseph Connors, who oversees the JCPD’s Internal Affairs Unit (IAU), declined to confirm or deny if an investigation was launched into the video.
Of note, Corso, after 970 days, recently received a punishment totaling a loss of 15 compensatory and vacation days regarding an incident in Robbinsville, NJ where reports generated by police officers state he was “Under the Influence” and “Resisted police officer control” – including being disarmed of his loaded firearm.
As first reported by Real Jersey City, and recently reported by the Jersey Journal, Corso admitted he had been at a bar five hours before fatally shooting 15-year-old Lincoln High School student Michael Anglin, but claimed he did not drink any alcohol and only had a soda.
Of note, JCPSOA leaders, including Kearns, as well as Mayor Fulop, are currently endorsing the Education Matters slate of candidates in the 2016 Jersey City Board of Education election.
At an October 17, 2016 rally following the tragic death of 11-year-old George Gonzalez after being hit by a jitney bus, Hudson County View recorded Fulop stating that “I recognize this is an issue and we will prioritize it appropriately.”
Fulop’s spokesperson declined to respond to a question asking why they didn’t take action after receiving the unedited video of Kearns operating his vehicle on Kennedy Blvd.