TRENTON, N.J. — A New Jersey state trooper has been indicted by the state’s attorney general for allegedly stalking a woman after stopping her twice while on duty in his patrol vehicle.
Attorney General Gurbir Grewal announced Thursday that his Office of Public Integrity and Accountability has indicted Michael Patterson, 29.
The charges stem from an investigation by the OPIA’s corruption bureau. They found that on Jan. 28, 2020, Patterson conducted a motor vehicle stop of a woman driving on the New Jersey Turnpike at around 9:30 p.m. He let the woman go with a warning, but from there, he conducted a second, unwarranted stop a few minutes later. He’s accused of making that stop in order to make advances on the woman.
Patterson is also alleged to have disable his vehicle’s video camera for the second stop. The indictment says Patterson then allegedly followed the woman home, putting her in fear.
“The New Jersey State Police maintain the highest standards of conduct for their state troopers, standards which the vast majority uphold as faithful and honorable guardians of the public,” said Attorney General Grewal. “Trooper Patterson allegedly violated those standards and the law, using his authority not to act as a guardian, but to put a female motorist in fear. This indictment reflects our resolve to hold officers accountable if they betray the public’s trust with this type of conduct.”
Patterson is charged with misconduct, stalking and tampering with public records. The misconduct charges carry a potential sentence of 5-10 years in state prison.
“The New Jersey State Police holds its troopers to the highest level of professional standards of any law enforcement agency in the country through a robust system of checks and balances that is designed to not only hold its members accountable, but to serve as a tool to provide training and counseling through early intervention,” said Colonel Patrick Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. “The alleged conduct revealed in this investigation stands in stark contrast to the core values of the New Jersey State Police and is a betrayal to the public and to the entire law enforcement community.”
PIX11 News has reached out to Patterson’s attorney for comment.