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PBA: Suspect In Shooting Death Of Off-Duty Newark Cop Was On Probation, Not Being Tracked

(credit: Newark Police Department)

(credit: Newark Police Department)

NEWARK, NJ (CBSNewYork/AP) – New Jersey’s largest police union is expressing anger over this week’s shooting death of an off-duty Newark cop.

LISTEN: WCBS 880’s Levon Putney reports

Det. Michael Morgan was shot and killed Monday outside of a club in Paterson where he was attending a friend’s birthday party.

Jerome Wright, 24, and his girlfriend, Nashali Gadson, 19, of Newark were arrested Wednesday in Philadelphia in connection with Morgan’s death.

Policemen’s Benevolent Association President Anthony Wieners says Wright was on probation, but wasn’t being tracked and has been wanted since June on a probation violation.

“The only way that any of these individuals that get picked up is when they commit another crime and you know, unfortunately in this case, it was a death of a police officer,” said Weiners.

He says probation officers are ill-equipped and undermanned.

“Our judicial system is becoming a mockery,” he said.

Weiners is blaming the government and the judicial system, saying their most important role is providing for the public safety.

“Today there is 20,000 probation violators out there and nobody is making an effort to pick them up,” he said.

Weiners said those probation violators are only found when they are arrested for other crimes.

But New Jersey judiciary officials disputed Wieners’ claims and his statistics. Spokeswoman Tammy Kendig said there were no records of anyone being murdered by someone on active probation in the state, adding there were currently 19,000 probation warrants in New Jersey, 5,000 of them for people not on active probation but wanted for outstanding fines. 
     
PBA spokesman Jim Ryan said the organization stood behind its numbers, adding that the union keeps close track of its police officer members killed by those on probation, a statistic he said the state might not track.

Both suspects in Morgan’s death are charged with felony murder, robbery and unlawful possession of a weapon.

An extradition hearing to return them to New Jersey has been set for Nov. 30.

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