by Charles Webster, MCPO
FREEHOLD – A jury returned guilty verdicts yesterday afternoon on most of the charges that a former Asbury Park police officer and a pair of criminal street gang members were facing during a trial that began in May, announced Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.
“One corrupt cop and two bad gang members are going to prison. Today’s verdict reinforces the message that we are serious about our mission to improve the quality of life for our citizens in Monmouth County. Violent street gangs will not be allowed to terrorize neighborhoods shooting, robbing or selling drugs,” Gramiccioni said.
Former Asbury Park Police Officer Keith German, 49, of Tinton Falls, was found guilty of three counts of second degree Official Misconduct, one count each of second degree Computer Theft, second degree Unlawful Access and Disclosure, third degree Hindering the Apprehension of Another, fourth degree Conspiracy to Commit Stalking, and Harassment, a petty disorderly persons offense.
At trial it was revealed that German, a 16-year veteran of the Asbury Park Police Department, used his official position to assist the members of violent Bloods criminal street gangs from avoiding detection and prosecution by providing them with confidential law enforcement information, including on one occasion unlawfully accessing a law enforcement database.
German faces five to 10 years in a New Jersey state prison on each of the official misconduct charges, as well as the computer theft and unlawful access and disclosure charges, with a minimum of five years imprisonment without parole on each official misconduct charge, when he returns to the courtroom of Monmouth County Superior Court Judge Joseph W. Oxley on Dec. 20, 2017.
Bloods street gang member James Fair, 29, and Crips street gang member Haneef Walker, 25, both of Asbury Park, were found guilty on numerous counts, including first degree Racketeering Conspiracy, for their respective roles in violent street crimes, conspiracy to commit murder, robbery, burglary, aggravated assault and other criminal activity in and around the seaside city.
Fair was found guilty on 78 charges: one count of first degree Racketeering Conspiracy, three counts of second degree Conspiracy to Commit Robbery, second degree Robbery, second degree Attempted Armed Robbery, eight counts of second degree Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose, six counts of second degree Unlawful Possession of a Weapon, first degree Armed Robbery, second degree Armed Burglary, two counts of Conspiracy to Commit Burglary, two counts of third degree Burglary, four counts of Theft of Movable Property, second degree Promoting Organized Street Crime, second degree Conspiracy to Commit Shoplifting as Part of an Organized Retail Theft Enterprise, disorderly persons Theft by Deception, second degree Shoplifting as Part of an Organized Retail Theft Enterprise, third degree Fencing, second degree Conspiracy to Possess a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose, third degree Conspiracy to Commit Aggravated Assault – Bodily Injury with a Deadly Weapon, third degree Aggravated Assault – Attempt to Cause Bodily Injury to Another, second degree Promoting Organized Street Crime to Commit Aggravated Assault – Attempt to Cause Bodily Injury, first degree Conspiracy to Commit Murder, second degree Aggravated Assault, first degree Promoting Organized Street Crime to Commit Aggravated Assault, two counts of second degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child, second degree Unlawful Possession of a Community Gun, third degree False Public Alarm, fourth degree Conspiracy to Commit Stalking, and numerous drug charges, including third degree Distribution of Cocaine, second degree Distribution of Cocaine within 500 feet of a Public Housing Complex, third degree Distribution of Cocaine with 1,000 feet of a School, third degree Possession of Cocaine, third degree Possession of Cocaine with Intent to Distribute, third degree Conspiracy to Commit Distribution of Cocaine, third degree Conspiracy to Commit Distribution of Heroin, third degree Distribution of Heroin, second degree Distribution of Heroin within 500 feet of a Public Housing Complex, third degree Conspiracy to Commit Distribution of Methylone aka Molly, third degree Conspiracy to commit Distribution of Oxycodone, third degree Possession of Oxycodone, and third degree Possession of Oxycodone with Intent to Distribute.
Fair could face a state prison sentence of 10 years to life imprisonment on the first degree charges, which are subject to the No Early Release Act. Further, each conviction for Promoting Organized Street Crime must be served consecutively to whatever sentence is imposed on the underlying crime being promoted. Fair is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Oxley on Dec. 21, 2017.
The jury found Walker guilty on 25 charges, one count of first degree Racketeering Conspiracy, two counts of second degree Conspiracy to Commit Robbery, second degree Attempted Armed Robbery, four counts of second degree Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose, three counts of second degree Unlawful Possession of a Weapon, second degree Conspiracy to Commit Shoplifting as Part of an Organized Retail Theft Enterprise, second degree Shoplifting as Part of an Organized Retail Theft Enterprise, third degree Fencing, two counts of second degree Conspiracy to Possess a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose, third degree Conspiracy to Commit Aggravated Assault – Bodily Injury with a Deadly Weapon, third degree Aggravated Assault – Attempt to Cause Bodily Injury to Another, second degree Unlawful Possession of a Community Gun, and several third degree drug charges, including Conspiracy to Possess Cocaine, Possession of Cocaine, Conspiracy to Possess Heroin, Conspiracy to Possess Methylone a/k/a “Molly”, and Conspiracy to Distribute Oxycodone.
Walker could face a sentence of up to 20 years in a New Jersey state prison for the first degree charge, five to 10 years in prison for the second degree charges, and three to five years in state prison for the third degree charges. Walker is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Oxley on Dec. 21, 2017.
The convictions are the results of a 14-month investigation, dubbed “Operation Dead End.” The investigation started in the summer of 2013 in conjunction with law enforcement efforts to stem violent street crimes and firearms offenses in Asbury Park. During the investigation, members of the criminal organization and their conspirators based their criminal activities out of two dead end streets in Asbury Park – Dewitt Avenue, and a section of Jersey Street in the Washington Village Public Housing Complex.
The investigation revealed that members of the criminal organization acted together on numerous occasions to commit a series of armed robberies, residential burglaries, and thefts, and included an organized shoplifting ring that had an established relationship with the owners of a local pawn shop. The investigation further revealed that members of the criminal organization regularly conspired to commit several different firearms-related offenses including unlawfully possessing firearms, transferring guns between various members of the criminal organization, and targeting rival gang members and enemies for shootings. The investigation also revealed that members of the criminal organization supported their criminal activities by distributing narcotics including cocaine, heroin, oxycodone, and “molly,” a form of ecstasy.
The investigation further revealed the coordinated efforts of members of the organization to distract law enforcement and conduct counter-surveillance of law enforcement, which included obtaining the assistance of an Asbury Park police officer who provided information to the leaders of the organization.
Fair, one of two of the leaders of the criminal enterprise, conspired with several other members of the criminal enterprise to obtain and transfer guns amongst the organization and to target rival street gang members for shootings. To that end, Fair directed others within the criminal organization to notify him when their enemies were located and to then assist Fair in attempting to shoot at their enemies.
“These convictions are the result of a coordinated team effort between the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office and our federal, state and local partners in law enforcement. It’s also important to note that the conviction of Keith German is in no way a reflection of our law enforcement community. He made choices that reflect adversely upon him, not on the hard-working men and women of the Asbury Park Police Department who continue to do an exceptional work for the citizens of the city,” Gramiccioni said.
Prosecutor Gramiccioni wishes to thank numerous law enforcement agencies for their assistance in the investigation and prosecution of this case: Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office; Asbury Park Police Department; Neptune Township Police Department; Neptune City Police Department; Brielle Police Department; Hazlet Township Police Department; Tinton Falls Police Department; Long Branch Police Department; Deal Police Department; Atlantic Highlands Police Department; Ocean Township Police Department; Marlboro Township Police Department; Freehold Township Police Department; Howell Township Police Department; Wall Township Police Department; Avon-by-the-Sea Police Department; Sea Bright Police Department; West Long Branch Police Department; Toms River Police Department, Freehold Borough Police Department, Shrewsbury Police Department, United States Marshal’s Service; United States Drug Enforcement Administration; and United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms.
The case was prosecuted by Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutors Matthew Bogner and Joseph Cummings.
German is represented by Robert P. Ward, Esq., of Brick.
Fair is represented by Jeffrey W. Coghlan, Esq., of Freehold.
Walker is represented by George Mardinly, Esq., of Rumson.