Dear Community Member:
It has been brought to my attention regarding the followingsocial media post that is circulating around our community regarding an alleged home invasion that took place in Fairfield on Friday October 27, 2023, and the allegedinactions of the Fairfield Police Department. The post is as follows:
Just an FYI to residents of Fairfield, we live on a Big Piece rd. A white jeep passed our house twice with no lights on, the 3rd time around one of the 4 male occupants exited the vehicle and approached my father in law who was sitting in the open garage smoking his nightly cigar. He began beating my 70 year old father in law, my brother heard the commotion and was also hit a few times before the man stumbled away back to the vehicle to flea. They were pulled over at the end of big piece, detained and questioned.
NONE OF THE MEN WERE ARRESTED. After offering our video surveillance and after identifying the one male occupant still no arrests were made. Apparently if the police didn't see if for themselves they are not able to make an arrest. The police seemed more inclined to arrest us, the upset neighbors. So just an FYI, lock all doors and windows and when someone does assault you in your own home, let's just hope for the best? Fairfield police sure won't do a thing to protect your Safety.
It is completely out of character for our police department or me to respond to any social media posts as any individual has the right to their own opinions. That is unless the post is so inherently misleading or inaccuratethat it causes widespread public concern or panic. In that regard, I felt it necessary to correct what has been put forth to the public in this irresponsible and inaccurate social media post.
First off, there was no home invasion that took place at anytime this weekend in Fairfield. Instead, on Friday October 27, 2023, at approximately 10:24 PM, all available Fairfield police officers were dispatched to a Big Piece Road residence after having received a 9-1-1 call reporting that an occupant of a white Jeep had just assaulted an individual while they were in their driveway.The suspect got back into the Jeep, and it fled from the scene on Big Piece Road.
Within minutes of having received this call, Fairfield Police Officer Katrina Guevara came upon the suspect vehicle and initiated a traffic stop. The three occupants of the vehicle were identified, and the officers began a roadside investigation to determine what occurred and the motive as to why it occurred. As officers were conducting this investigation, the victim and other family members arrived on scene and began to interfere with the investigation and had to be physically restrained from engaging in such interference.
From the facts that were discovered during the preliminary on-scene investigation, it was determined that a simple assault had occurred. As such, New Jersey law prohibits police officers from effecting a custodial arrest on an individual for a disorderly person offense when it does not occur in the officer’s presence. While there are some limited and specific disorderly person offenses when officers can make such an arrest, simple assault is not one of them. Still, the victim always maintains the right to file a criminal complaint against the suspect in such cases as this one. They were given clear instructions on how to legally proceed with the matter if desired.
The Fairfield Police Department and its officers remain the consummate professionals that you have come to know and expect. We remain committed to keeping our community safe and being accountable to the public that we serve. When we make mistakes or do not perform as we should, we will admit it. But in cases like this one when our officers quickly respond to a call, identify the suspect(s), and do all we can do under the law, well then, I will praise our officers for a job well done.
It should be noted at the exact same time that this call came in, our other officers were also handling a domestic violence call and a four car motor vehicle crash on Route 80. We were assisted by officers from neighboring towns.
The public should also know that the motive for this simple assault remains under investigation.
Anthony G. Manna,
Chief of Police