Senator Michael Doherty (R-23) responded to reports that the New Jersey State Police has acknowledged that excessive force was used against a mentally disabled man, James Bayliss, who was a passenger in a car that had been stopped by Troopers while searching for burglary suspects. In audio recorded by a Trooper’s microphone, the driver of the stopped vehicle can be heard explaining Bayliss’s condition to Troopers prior to the incident.
“It appears that the driver did his best to make sure that Troopers were aware that Mr. Bayliss suffered from a mental disability as a result of a traumatic brain injury that could make his behavior seem strange,” said Doherty. “The dash camera video of James Bayliss being thrown to the ground, beaten and apparently rammed head first into a patrol car by State Troopers would be disturbing even if his condition had not just been explained.”
The Senator’s remarks followed published reports that the New Jersey State Police has concluded a three-year investigation which determined that a pair of Troopers involved in the incident used unreasonable force against Mr. Bayliss.
“I have met with James Bayliss’s father and I agree with his concerns that it should not take years to investigate allegations of Trooper misconduct when such reviews are required to be completed within 120 days,” said Doherty. “I am heartened that our new Attorney General has been responsive to concerns and has moved quickly to enact a plan that will prevent situations like this from happening again.”
Under a plan put into effect on April 15 by New Jersey Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa, cases involving allegations of serious misconduct, including racial profiling and excessive use of force, will be sent to a pair of attorneys in the Division of Criminal Justice to determine if criminal charges should be filed. Less serious cases will be sent to the Office of Law Enforcement Professional Standards, which has been assigned an additional attorney.
“We don’t want to rush investigations that truly need additional time to complete, but we also don’t want cases sitting in a pile on someone’s desk for years at a time,” added Doherty. “It’s in everyone’s best interest to ensure that frivolous allegations against good Troopers can be investigated quickly and cleared, and to know that bad Troopers won’t be able to skate along for years before being held to account for their conduct. Attorney General Chiesa’s plan to speed the review process is welcome news for everyone.”