Home News Irvington police captain arrested for allegedly trying to run over Newark councilman

Irvington police captain arrested for allegedly trying to run over Newark councilman

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Irvington Police Capt. Monique Smith, left, and the City Councilman, John S. James she allegedly tried to run over.
Irvington Police Capt. Monique Smith, left, and the City Councilman, John S. James she allegedly tried to run over.


Irvington Police Captain Monique Smith has been arrested for allegedly attempting to run over a city councilman with her vehicle this past Monday.

According to NJ.com, Smith, 43, has been taken into custody on charges of aggravated assault, stalking, harassment, criminal mischief and multiple weapons charges. The councilman targeted in the incident is South Ward Councilman John Sharpe James.

Around 11 p.m. Monday night, Smith confronted James, who proceeded to get in his car and drive off. Smith then got into her personal car and followed him. It is alleged she struck his car with her vehicle several times.

Philly.com reported Smith followed James all the way to his parents’ home, where his father, former Newark Mayor Sharpe James, intervened. Smith fled the scene and was arrested early the next day at a different location by responding officers.

It is unclear what sparked the confrontation. However, several law enforcement sources have stated that the incident came just a few hours after Smith was promoted to captain during a Monday afternoon ceremony.

Irvington Mayor Tony Vauss is still gathering information on the incident. He has stated Smith has been suspended without pay pending an investigation. It is unknown if she has retained an attorney.

Despite Smith’s arrest, Vauss has defended the decision to promote her. “She’s been a fine officer for many years in the Irvington Police Department,” he said.

James, a military veteran who served during Desert Storm and in Afghanistan, has not commented on the incident and has not returned calls of inquiry. It is unclear if he was injured during the attack.

According to Philly.com, a spokeswoman for the Essex County prosecutor’s office stated its domestic violence unit and professional standards bureau were monitoring the case and would handle the prosecution.

In 2012, Smith was involved in another controversial incident.

Two former internal affairs investigators filed allegations with the prosecutor’s office, claiming that Smith and Police Chief Michael Chase allegedly ordered them on several occasions to alter reports and bring unjustified disciplinary charges against certain officers.

The allegations were investigated but resulted in no criminal charges. However, Chase is currently facing dozens of administrative charges for the alleged misuse of power and other misconduct.

Since then, Smith has been transferred out of internal affairs. She was reassigned to Irvington’s personnel division. Payroll records indicate she was paid $116,252 in 2013.

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