The man picked to lead the police department in crime-ridden Newark was harshly criticized for throwing "his weight around" and picking a fight with parkway police by a superior court judge Tuesday.
Garry McCarthy, the former deputy commissioner for operations at the New York Police Department, was turned down by the judge in his bid to overturn a conviction for obstructing traffic during a roadside melee, which started when his daughter was pulled over and ended when he and his wife were handcuffed and his handgun taken by parkway police.
Referring to that traffic incident, Bergen County Superior Court Judge Patrick Roma said, "This matter could have been avoided, especially by someone who is expected to lead a law enforcement agency."
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"It appears clear to this court that Mr. McCarthy’s sole purpose for confronting the officers was ‘to throw his weight around’ and to obtain special consideration for a high ranking police official. In summary, he turned a garden variety parking ticket into a melee," he continued.
McCarthy was convicted this past March of obstructing traffic at a parkway service area while arguing with two police officers about a ticket they had given his teenage daughter for parking in a handicapped spot. Instead of paying a $200 fine, McCarthy decided to appeal.
His attorney asked Roma to throw out the conviction, saying the two officers had fabricated details of the incident. The officers accused the McCarthys of using foul language and scuffling with them, while McCarthy’s attorney said they had only cursed in response to abusive language and behavior from the officers.
In a written ruling, Roma said both McCarthy and his wife "initiated the confrontation with the police which escalated into a tense confrontation and argument," leading to the charges. The judge concluded that McCarthy "showed extraordinarily poor judgment in this situation, especially while armed and incontrovertibly after a few drinks." Noting that McCarthy’s wife at one point lunged for her husband’s service weapon, which was taken away by parkway police, Roma said that his drinking before the confrontation "could have led to a tragedy, as evidenced by Mrs. McCarthy’s involvement when she attempted to grab her husband’s gun."
As for the daughter’s ticket, it was eventually dismissed after she presented valid credentials entitling her to park in a handicapped space.