NEWARK, N.J. (PIX11) -- A New Jersey police captain is accused of assaulting a Newark councilman -- with her car.
Authorities said Irvington Police Captain Monique Smith, 43, has been arrested and charged for allegedly chasing down Newark Councilman John S. James with her vehicle.
Police say she approached James yelling outside his Pomona Avenue residence in Newark Monday night. James got in his car and drove off.
Smith allegedly followed in her own vehicle, striking James’ car several times. James drove to his parents' house nearby where his father, former Newark Mayor Sharpe James, intervened.
Police say that’s when Smith left and the authorities were called.
“They [are] supposed to be taking care of the Irvington neighborhood municipality and stuff, so why would they do something like that?” asked Irvington resident Twanda Stokley.
Councilman James’ office would not comment Tuesday. But Irvington’s Police Chief Michael Chase showed compassion for Capt. Smith, who is now suspended without pay.
“Anyone who has a misfortune or misadventure gets my deep compassionate concern. We deal with the realities and we hope for better events, but whatever it is, it is and we wish her well,” he said.
Smith was honored by Essex County Freeholder D. Bilal Beasley in 2008 with a medal and sealed certificate for her service in the armed forces.
According to the county release, she began her military career in 1994 when she joined the National Guard. She eventually attained the rank of 1st Lieutenant in the U.S. Army and received a Meritorious Service Medal for losing zero personnel and equipment during deployment to Afghanistan.
Smith has been a member of the Irvington Police Department since July of 2000. Throughout her career she has worked as a narcotics investigator and led the department’s internal affairs unit. She was named in a 2012 lawsuit alleging wrongdoing in Irvington’s internal affairs department.
The Newark Police Department has charged Smith with stalking, aggravated assault, harassment and weapons charges in connection to Monday night’s alleged events.
The Irvington Police will begin their own investigation into the matter when Newark’s is concluded.