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Re: JC Cop in DWI Accident is also the Mayor's cousin
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No, he can't ...the most he can do is get the actual $$$ amt he put into the pension back. He broke the law (DWI) that caused 1 death, and there is no exceptions. He legal fees if he is dumb enough to plead not guilty, will be over 100 grand. He will get no assistance from either the FOP or the PBA.

There is no pity party coming from any person I've spoke with from City Hall and uniform for anyone but the family that he hit.

As for me, I have zero tolerance for anyone who drinks and gets behind a wheel.

Posted on: 2007/1/29 0:50

Edited by r_pinkowitz on 2007/1/29 1:27:23
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Re: JC Cop in DWI Accident is also the Mayor's cousin
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Of course he was sick - being DRUNK would be considered sick. Alcoholism is a sickness - this dude keeps his pension.

Don't get me wrong pinko, I hope this BUM gets what should be coming his way like it would for you or me as 'Joe Citizen'.

Posted on: 2007/1/29 0:47
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Re: JC Cop in DWI Accident is also the Mayor's cousin
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Please, just tell me that he will at least lose his pension and benefits over this....


I feel so sick hearing about the death of this child. I have been thinking about this family all weekend, just so sad and senseless.

If I'm not mistaken, ordinarily the JCPD would not suspend or revoke this cop's pension if this occurred while he was off duty, though they'd probably give him some kind of desk job given the nature of the circumstance.

But, the article above said that Freibott called in sick that day which changes the tone. My understanding is that JC has a very strict policy on sick days... if you call in sick, you had better be sick.

Maybe that is how he would lose his pension, hopefully.

Freibott is a walking crime wave.

Posted on: 2007/1/29 0:44
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Re: JC Cop in DWI Accident is also the Mayor's cousin
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Quote:

fat-ass-bike wrote:
Quote:

jocjo wrote:
Please, just tell me that he will at least lose his pension and benefits over this....


He will keep his pension and benefits, lose his job and license and his verdict will be 3 years good behavior because he will be remorseful, have recommendation letters from the Mayor, a Priest and Chief of Police.
He will have a letter from a psychiatrist stating he is still suffering from the death of his son, which makes him drink and recommend a compulsory rehab program that Healy will personally see completed.

Healy will then donated some funds from the City Mayor Charity Fund Program to the injured family - which will make him a nice guy in some peoples eyes and 'that's all folks'

End of issue!

AND IF THIS BECOMES FACT, I"LL GET A DOG AND TRAIN IT TO PEE ON EVERY CITY HALL AND POLICE VEHICLE IN THE JC.


He does not enough years for the pension and the merit board only makes exceptions for injury/death for those hurt in the line of duty.

Posted on: 2007/1/29 0:38
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Re: JC Cop in DWI Accident is also the Mayor's cousin
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Quote:

jocjo wrote:
Please, just tell me that he will at least lose his pension and benefits over this....


He will keep his pension and benefits, lose his job and license and his verdict will be 3 years good behavior because he will be remorseful, have recommendation letters from the Mayor, a Priest and Chief of Police.
He will have a letter from a psychiatrist stating he is still suffering from the death of his son, which makes him drink and recommend a compulsory rehab program that Healy will personally see completed.

Healy will then donated some funds from the City Mayor Charity Fund Program to the injured family - which will make him a nice guy in some peoples eyes and 'that's all folks'

End of issue!

AND IF THIS BECOMES FACT, I"LL GET A DOG AND TRAIN IT TO PEE ON EVERY CITY HALL AND POLICE VEHICLE IN THE JC.

Posted on: 2007/1/29 0:26
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Re: JC Cop in DWI Accident is also the Mayor's cousin
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It is really sad!

Ricardo Kaulessar also had a new article in the Hudson Reporter today -- not much new info in it.

=============================

Sadness follows cop's tragic mistake -- Mayor's cousin allegedly drove while intoxicated, mother and son still in critical condition

Ricardo Kaulessar - Hudson Reporter - Jan 28

There was still shock and sadness last week after a Tuesday night accident on the Pulaski Skyway that led to a Jersey City police officer being charged with driving while intoxicated and assault with an automobile, leaving a woman and her 2-year-old son in critical condition.

Police Officer Kevin Freibott, who is a second cousin of Mayor Jerremiah Healy, was charged with DWI on Tuesday night after crashing into a Pontiac Trans Am that was coming onto the Skyway from Jersey City. He was off-duty at the time.

Two of the passengers in the car, Ruth Zelaya, 37, and her 2-year-old son, Jose Carlos Zelaya, sustained severe head trauma, said Police Chief Thomas Comey at a press conference on Wednesday in front of Police Headquarters on Erie Street. Both were visiting from Honduras.

The mother was taken to the Jersey City Medical Center while her son was transported to the University Hospital in Newark.

The driver of the Trans Am they were in, Raul Posas-Pineda, and his front seat passenger Carlos Zelaya, husband of Ruth, both suffered minor injuries.

Freibott, who also suffered minor injuries, was suspended without pay pending further inevestigation.

According to Hudson County Prosecutor Edward J. DeFazio, whose office is working with the Jersey City Police on the investigation, Freibott could face five years in prison for assault by auto and at least 10 years or more if the mother or son passes away.

But this accident has brought about a number of questions.

Who is Freibott?

On Wednesday, information was already coming out that Freibott was a second cousin of Mayor Jerramiah Healy. Freibott also has had other motor vehicle problems.

A City Hall source said that while Freibott is a cousin of Healy, Healy did not have a close relationship with Friebott.

Healy issued a statement on the accident last week.

"This is a terrible accident," said Healy. "Regardless of my relationship with Police Officer Freibott, the Jersey City Police Department has quickly taken the appropriate action and he has been charged in this matter. Our main concern right now is the welfare of the Zelaya family, namely mother and child."

Healy's spokesperson Maria Pignataro said Healy was making plans to visit the mother and her son on Thursday.

Freibott was a nine-year veteran of the Middletown Police Department until he was transferred to the Jersey City Police Department. According to press reports, Freibott had requested a lateral transfer, which is a process that allows police officers to move from one town's police department to another without losing their time in the state's pension and civil service programs.

Another City Hall source said there was no influence on Healy's part to get Freibott onto the police force.

Friebott also has had problems in the past when in the driver's seat.

Fired and reinstated

An August 22, 2001 article in the Independent, a newspaper based in Holmdel, reported that Freibott was involved in an accident in February of that year in the parking lot of a restaurant in Atlantic Highlands and was later found to have been without a valid license and expired registration at the time. The article went on to report that Freibott in August 2001 was fired from his job.

He would be reinstated by the state's Merit System Board in 2002.

It was also reported last week that Freibott has also had a number of blemishes on his driving record dating to 1986.

Followup calls to the Jersey City Police Department were not returned before this article went to press.

Ricardo Kaulessar can be reached at rkaulessar@hudsonreporter.com

Posted on: 2007/1/28 23:24
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Re: JC Cop in DWI Accident is also the Mayor's cousin
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My prayers are with that family.

Posted on: 2007/1/28 23:18
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Re: JC Cop in DWI Accident is also the Mayor's cousin
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Boy Dies from Crash Involving Off-duty JC Cop

NEWARK, N.J. -- A 2-year-old boy has died from injuries suffered in a crash involving an off-duty Jersey City police officer whom authorities say was intoxicated.

Juan Carlos Zelaya was pronounced dead at 10:20 p.m. Saturday at University Hospital, authorities told The Star-Ledger of Newark for Sunday newspapers.

The boy and with his 37-year-old mother, Ruth Zelaya, were in a Pontiac Grand Am that was struck from behind on the Pulaski Skyway Tuesday night by a Jeep Cherokee driven by Officer Kevin Freibott.

Blood alcohol tests showed Freibott's blood alcohol level was three times the legal limit.

Ruth Zelaya's condition had been upgraded from critical to stable by Friday at Jersey City Medical Center. Hospital officials did not immediately return calls Sunday on her condition.

Freibott was suspended without pay and charged with driving while intoxicated and assault by auto. Authorities have said Freibott could face additional disciplinary charges because the accident occurred on a day when he was out sick.

A spokesman for Hudson County Prosecutor Edward DeFazio did not immediately return calls Sunday on whether Freibott would face additional criminal charges.

Posted on: 2007/1/28 21:47
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Re: JC Cop in DWI Accident is also the Mayor's cousin
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From the NOW section of the Jersey Journal website:

Prosecutor: Blood test yields shocking result for drunk cop in tragic crash
The Jersey City cop accused of being drunk Tuesday night when he slammed his speeding Jeep Cherokee into a Pontiac Grand Am on the Pulaski Skyway, critically injuring a woman and her young son, had a blood alcohol level at least three times the legal limit, Hudson County Prosecutor Ed DeFazio told The Jersey Journal this afternoon.

The blood test, DeFazio noted, was done two hours after the 11 p.m. crash and supports a theory of "reckless indifference to human life.''

Officer Kevin Freibott, 38, is charged with driving while intoxicated and assault by auto.

DeFazio's office served a subpoena on the Jersey City Medical Center this morning to obtain the blood test results.

The mother and child, meanwhile, both remained in critical condition this morning, officials told The Jersey Journal.

Ruth Zelaya, 37, has been in the Jersey City Medical Center's intensive care unit in critical condition since the accident.

Her son, 2-year-old Juan Carlos, remains in critical condition in the pediatric intensive care unit of University Hospital in Newark with no significant improvement, hospital officials said.

Freibott crawled out a window of his overturned Jeep Cherokee after it rear-ended the Pontiac Grand Am in which the injured mother and son were passengers, official said. He was not given a field sobriety tests because he was injured, but officers on the scene charged him with DWI based on their observations, officials said.

In the aftermath of the accident, Freibott was taken to the Medical Center where he was treated and released, officials said. While at the hospital, a blood sample was taken from the officers but a subpoena was needed to get the results due to privacy issues concerning medical records, DeFazio said.

The subpoena was signed by a Hudson County state Superior Court judge and served this morning, DeFazio said.

Freibott is out on $50,000 bail. He has been suspended without pay from the police department pending the outcome of the criminal investigation, Jersey City Police Chief Tom Comey said.

Freibott is a cousin of Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healy whose administration hired Freibott in December 2005 despite a driving record with numerous infractions, including a previous DWI.

A message left at Freibott's Middletown home this afternoon was not immediately returned.

Posted on: 2007/1/26 22:42
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Re: JC Cop in DWI Accident is also the Mayor's cousin
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Hey Fat-Ass

Thats a good for another topic at some later date, but what needs to be adrressed is how did this Drunk with a checkered past get on the local force ?

If you applied to become a cop, everything on yr application and I mean everything is scrutinized and verified prior to being placed in the academy .

Therefore, understanding that this guy was a transfer from, another PD, is it taken for granted that all of this was allready performed, what about issues, while He was on that force ?????

Alot of questions, but if you notice everyone is really tight lipped over this .

In the meantime theres a 2yr old little soul on a resperator
and His mother miles away in another Hospital .

How anyone involved in this can sleep at night is beyond all human comprehension.

CK

Posted on: 2007/1/26 21:32
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Re: JC Cop in DWI Accident is also the Mayor's cousin
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I thought JCPD officers are never off duty - they carry their guns at all times and what shits me, is that they have medallions for their cars (on the dash) for free parking.
I know of a cop who parked his car at a bar and didn't get a ticket for over-staying while cars infront and behind his, got parking tickets. This has happened a few times and it sucks.

Posted on: 2007/1/26 17:06
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Re: JC Cop in DWI Accident is also the Mayor's cousin
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Someone please correct me if I'm wrong, but the mere fact that the individual at fault is a police officer would not open the PD or the city up to any liability unless that individual was operating pursuant to his duties as a police officer (i.e. he was on duty or responding to the scene of a crime/accident etc.).

If he is on his own time, driving his own car then the only tie between the city/PD and the crime is that he may live in Jersey City and travel on roads in this area of New Jersey because he has a job as a Jersey City police officer. That seems to tenuous a tie for the city/PD to be held even partially liable for his individual actions.

Posted on: 2007/1/26 16:25
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Re: JC Cop in DWI Accident is also the Mayor's cousin
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Well, scuttlebut is that the one constant in the administration is that the Mayor takes care of his family, friends, on down the line. There is no other ideal guiding the administration. This is what has guided hiring and promotions at great cost to the taxpayer.

Now non, and other defenders, I don't have the statisitics at my fingertips. But this is what I observe and what I hear.

In this instance, it is absolutely certain that the city will be liable, perhaps to the tune of millions of dollars for hiring a chronic drunk, scofflaw. This guy must be so juiced that he's rarely sober. I mean if a cop has this many DWIs, he must drive blasted daily. So if Healy did not put in a fix, it would even be more outrageous. That would mean that the City regularly hires drunks as cops.

But of course, as Mr. Rogers said above: Healy had his buddy Troy make sure his cousin got hired. Thus, it is quite possible that a Sec. 1983 lawsuit will be filed holding the City liable for exponential amounts beyond the terrible injuries in this accident. Its called reckless disregard or deliberate indifference.

It is a proud and fine tradition to take care of one's own and theirs, but it cannot be done by circumventing the law, by being reckless and callous with the public's interest. And the sentiments of Non strike me as that of a ringer more than this camp's.

Posted on: 2007/1/26 16:16
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Re: JC Cop in DWI Accident is also the Mayor's cousin
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DWI COP DRIVING RECORD A WRECK
Friday, January 26, 2007
By JARRETT RENSHAW
JOURNAL STAFF WRITER

An off-duty Jersey City cop's horrific crash Tuesday night not only left a mother and son fighting for their lives but also has raised questions about nepotism and the Police Department's hiring practices.

Kevin Freibott, 38, was arrested on charges of drunken driving and assault by vehicle late Tuesday night after he rear-ended a car that was joining traffic on the Pulaski Skyway from the Broadway ramp.

The accident left two people - 37-year-old Ruth Zelaya and her 2-year-old son - in critical condition.

Freibott was off duty at the time of the accident and had not worked since Jan. 13 because he was "sick," police officials said. Internal affairs is currently conducting an investigation involving his absence from work and the accident, though it's unclear how they are connected.

Prior to the crash Tuesday night, Freibott was in Manhattan, then made a stop in Jersey City, Hudson County Prosecutor Edward DeFazio said. He would not say where specifically Freibott had stopped.

Authorities have charged Freibott with drunken driving but are awaiting the results of a blood test to determine his blood-alcohol level at the time of the accident.

A Jersey Journal review of Freibott's driving record shows the accident was only the latest incident for him - and raises questions about how Freibott managed to score a transfer into the Jersey City Police Department.

Freibott was involved in seven different car accidents - though only one resulted in a violation - and committed seven moving violations during 1986 and 2001, according to the state's Motor Vehicle Commission. One of the violations occurred after he became a Middletown cop in 1996.

The most serious of the offenses was a 1988 drunken driving charge that resulted in a 180-day license suspension. His license was briefly suspended two more times in connection with that same incident - once for failing to comply with the drug and alcohol program, the other for failing to pay surcharges.

Freibott got into a fender-bender outside a bar in Atlantic Highlands in 2001 and could not produce a valid driver's license or proper registration. He was fired from the Middletown Police Department because of that incident, but was reinstated a year later by the state's Merit System Board. He was in "good standing," Middletown police officials said, when he transferred to the Jersey City Police Department in December 2005.

Four years later - despite his checkered driving record - the Jersey City Police Department and its Chief Robert Troy hired Freibott through a lateral transfer, which enables officers to retain their pension and Civil Service credits while switching from one department to another.

Several city officials have speculated on whether Freibott's relationship to Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healy - they are cousins - helped land him a job in Jersey City.

"It is my belief that individuals with that type of history would not be allowed on the police force," said City Councilwoman Viola Richardson, a former city cop. "People have been denied with less . apparently, he must have had some connection to get on this job."

Police Director Sam Jefferson, one of several people who reviewed the transfer, said Freibott's transfer application raised "no red flags."

"When I looked into it, most of the violations happened in his youth and they were not bundled recently," Jefferson said. "This tragic accident didn't happen because he was a cop, but because he was drunk."

City Council President Mariano Vega focused instead on the department's background check process for lateral transfers.

"If a casual check revealed all of that, you have to wonder whether a thorough check was actually done. It certainly raises a red flag. I think the thing to do is to have a meeting with the chief to see how that process could have missed something that was so glaringly obvious," said City Councilman Mariano Vega.

Police Chief Tom Comey, who served as Troy's chief of staff, said yesterday that Freibott went through an extensive background check, physical and psychological exam.

But most importantly, Comey said, Freibott went through an oral interview with Troy.

"That's where the questions about the past get answered. If you like the answers, then you hire the person," Comey said.

=====================================

Emotional dad: I would trade places
Friday, January 26, 2007
By MICHAELANGELO CONTE
JOURNAL STAFF WRITER

NEWARK - The Honduran man whose wife and 2-year-old son have been in critical condition since Tuesday night's crash on the Pulaski Skyway tearfully wished yesterday he could trade places with them.

"Sometimes I feel like I have enough courage to get through this, and sometimes I don't, but I know my family needs me. I would exchange my life for theirs," Carlos Zelaya, 35, said in the lobby of University Hospital, where his son remains in very critical condition with severe head injuries.

His 37-year-old wife, Ruth Zelaya, is in critical condition at the Jersey City Medical Center.

Carlos Zelaya and his brother-in-law, Raul Posas-Pineda of Jersey City, were also in the Pontiac Grand Am but escaped injury when it was rear-ended by a Jeep Cherokee driven by off-duty Police Officer Kevin Freibott, who has been charged with assault by auto and driving while intoxicated.

Posas-Pineda, who was driving, had merged onto the Skyway at the Broadway entrance ramp, a left-lane entrance, just after 11 p.m. He then moved to the right lane and was almost immediately rear-ended by Freibott's Cherokee. Authorities believe Freibott was going 20 to 30 miles per hour over the Skyway's 45 mph speed limit.

"Everything was normal and we were talking inside the car, and then the car hit us in the back and we went around," Zelaya said.

"The other car went over us. Can you imagine the speed? By the time he stopped he was a half block in front of us."

Police said the Pan Am spun several times, hit the concrete divider and then flipped over onto its roof. Carlos Zelaya said he yelled to his wife, who was in the back seat with their son, but heard nothing.

He said he looked back and saw his wife bleeding heavily from her face and head.

"My son, he looked like he was asleep, but the damage was in his brain," Carlos Zelaya said, sobbing.

A rabbi stopped and helped, Carlos Zelaya said, but he never saw Freibott, who was treated and released from the Jersey City Medical Center for minor injuries. Freibott was charged with assault with auto and driving while intoxicated and released Wednesday after posting $50,000 bail.

"The officer never showed up to help," Carlos Zelaya said. "I never saw him. I was wondering who hit us, and someone said 'The car in front of you hit you.' I said, 'How is he in front of me?'"

Carlos Zelaya is a supervisor at San Pedro Sula International Airport in Honduras and was in the United States to get training; his wife and son came along to visit relatives in Jersey City.

Posted on: 2007/1/26 14:39
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Re: JC Cop in DWI Accident is also the Mayor's cousin
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MrWolf wrote:
Article says that Freibott was reinstated in Middletown at some point and was "in good standing" in 2005 before the transfer. He was part of a group of twelve other officers who were "laterally" transferred during 2005. Yeah, the guy was a risky hire, but he also lost a three year old to cancer and wanted a fresh start. Who gives a sh*t if he was the mayor's second cousin and something happened behind the scenes. JC needs a bigger police force and addresses this in part through transfer resources. The wheels didn't need greasing. What happened is a tragedy and Freibott is going to be harshly dealt with through the courts b/c of his repeat offense (and ironically b/c he is Healy's cousin).


Tragic news about the son, but his experience as a cop should have pointed him to counselling and family intervention. He would have been aware of the impact and dangers of DUI. I feel sorry for his loss, but not his actions - still and ASS in my book.

Posted on: 2007/1/25 18:19
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Re: JC Cop in DWI Accident is also the Mayor's cousin
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Article says that Freibott was reinstated in Middletown at some point and was "in good standing" in 2005 before the transfer. He was part of a group of twelve other officers who were "laterally" transferred during 2005. Yeah, the guy was a risky hire, but he also lost a three year old to cancer and wanted a fresh start. Who gives a sh*t if he was the mayor's second cousin and something happened behind the scenes. JC needs a bigger police force and addresses this in part through transfer resources. The wheels didn't need greasing. What happened is a tragedy and Freibott is going to be harshly dealt with through the courts b/c of his repeat offense (and ironically b/c he is Healy's cousin).

Posted on: 2007/1/25 18:05
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Re: JC Cop in DWI Accident is also the Mayor's cousin
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Trouble in Middletown 5 years ago not mentioned on his transfer form

January 25
By MICHAELANGELO CONTE
JERSEY JOURNAL

The cop involved in Tuesday night's Pulaski Skyway crash didn't have a perfect record when he transferred into the Jersey City Police Department - but city officials insist his hiring had nothing to do with the fact that he's Mayor Jerramiah Healy's cousin.

"The mayor pulled no strings in getting Kevin on the force," Jersey City spokeswoman Maria Pignataro said of Kevin Freibott, who was charged with assault by auto and driving while intoxicated in the Tuesday night accident that left a mother and her 2-year-old son in critical condition.

Freibott became a Middletown police officer in 1996 - the same department where his father, Healy's first cousin, was on the force for 40 years - but was fired five years later, when he got into a fender bender in a restaurant parking lot in Atlantic Highlands, a nearby town.

Police determined Freibott had allowed his driver's license to expire, but for nearly three months had continued to drive his own car as well as his patrol car, authorities said.

Freibott appealed the disciplinary action to the state Merit System Board, which reinstated him to the Middletown Police Department. He was in "good standing" in 2005, a Middletown police official said, when he asked for and received a transfer to the Jersey City Police Department.

Police sources said Freibott wanted to get a fresh start at a new department after losing a 3-year-old daughter to cancer several years earlier.

Pignataro said Freibott was one of about a dozen police officers from various departments who transferred to the Jersey City Police Department in 2005, a year after Healy won a special election to serve out the remainder of the late Glenn D. Cunningham's mayoral term.

Freibott and the other officers joined the department via "lateral transfers" - which enable veteran officers to maintain their service time and not go through the academy before joining a new department. Pignataro said the method quickly beefed up the ranks of the Jersey City Police Department with experienced cops; critics of the process say it skirts the practice of hiring applicants based on Civil Service testing.

Freibott's form for the transfer from Middletown to Jersey City, obtained yesterday by The Jersey Journal, was approved by Business Administrator Brian O'Reilly and former Police Chief Robert Troy.

O'Reilly said the transfer form came from Troy's office and did not include any background information, nor was he aware of Freibott's relation to Healy. O'Reilly said that if he had known about Freibott's problems in Middletown, he would have raised questions about his hiring. Troy could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Jersey City Police Chief Tom Comey said Freibott's kinship with Healy will have no impact on the investigation into the crash.

Journal staff writer Jarrett Renshaw contributed to this report.

Posted on: 2007/1/25 15:07
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What is scary, is that instead of serving the community, they serve themselves and we have neighborhood leaders ready to take the leadership role with those same attitudes of self-serving and self-righteousness.

If you have to be of GOOD CHARACTER and a LAW ABIDING member of the community to be a cop, how did this BUM keep his job after being convicted previously.

Troy, Healy and Freibott are a disgrace to any Police Dept and if the prosecutor doesn't throw the book at him, then he is a BUM too.

I can see why people have little respect for the police and if stopped give them a mouthful of abuse - it ain't right, but enough is enough of this ASS of an administration.

Posted on: 2007/1/25 13:22
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Re: JC Cop in DWI Accident is also the Mayor's cousin
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Is anybody out there keeping track of the number of booze related instances surrounding this administration.

On the same day Healys lawyers are in court on his drunk and disordely charge his cousin is arraigned on DUI and crashing his car into a family.

This cop was hired by Healys drinking buddy Bobby Troy after screwing up in Middletown.

Lets not forget the JJ story of Healys corp.Council being drunk and fighting in atlantic city.


That funny drunk and naked guy we voted into office has proved my mom right."every things a joke until someone gets hurt"

Posted on: 2007/1/25 12:50
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Re: JC Cop in DWI Accident is also the Mayor's cousin
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How can we expect our residents to uphold the law when we've got buffoons like this one who are supposed to enforce them?

Isn't there some sort of three-strikes-and-you're-out program for cops? Or, in this jackass' case, ten strikes?

Posted on: 2007/1/25 5:56
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JC Cop in DWI Accident is also the Mayor's cousin
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Is it possible to launch a recall vote on Healy?? Enough is enough.


Jersey City cop charged with DWI after accident
Eyewitness News
(Jersey City - WABC, January 24, 2007) - An off-duty Jersey City cop was charged with DWI after a car accident that critically injured a woman and her toddler.

Police say Officer Kevin Freibott was drunk when he crashed his vehicle Tuesday night around 11 p.m.
Ruth Zelaya and her 2-year-old son were injured in the wreck. Zelaya was admitted to the intensive care unit of Jersey City Medical Center. The child was being treated at University Hospital.

Authorities say the accident is being investigated by the police department's accident investigation and internal affairs units and the Hudson County Prosecutor's Office.

The crash was reportedly not the first time Freibott has been in trouble over a traffic accident.

Officials say he was fired from the Middletown Township Police Department in 2001 after a minor accident outside an Atlantic Highlands tavern for failure to have a valid driver's license. Freibott was later reinstated by the state Merit System Board.

Freibott's driving record includes three license suspensions. The first came in 1988 for DWI, the second when he failed to attend a drunk driving program and the third for failing to pay fines. He's had six violations from 1986 to 2001 that include careless driving, speeding and driving without a license. Also, the Department of Motor Vehicles has his name tied to at least seven accidents. Freibott has been suspended without pay.

Freibott is a second cousin of Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healy, two city sources confirmed.

Friebott came on to the Jersey City force through a hiring technique called a "lateral transfer," which allows police officers to jump from one town to another without losing their time in the pension and civil service programs, according to Healy's spokeswoman, Maria Pignataro.

Police officers must apply for a lateral transfer, which must be approved by their home department. The recieving department, in this case Jersey City, can arbitrally pick its officer from the list applicants without regard to civil service exams and other measures.

Pignataro said Friebott was hired at a time when the department was low on officers, adding that the mayor "pulled no strings in getting Kevin on the force."

(Copyright 2007 WABC-TV)

Posted on: 2007/1/25 4:44
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