Trenton, NJ police officer accused of plotting with gangster inmate
A Trenton police officer has been accused of hiding his gang connections and plotting with a Latin Kings member already in prison about an assault on a suspected informant.
Rudy Lopez, 36, of Hamilton has been charged with official misconduct, conspiracy and tampering with public records, acting Attorney General Matthew Platkin announced on Monday.
Lopez, an officer with the city since September 2020, has now been suspended without pay, according to Trenton Public Information Officer Timothy Carroll.
"This administration will not allow violations of the public trust, and that applies equally to law enforcement officers," Carroll said in a statement on Monday evening.
According to the Office of Public Integrity and Accountability (OPIA) in the state Attorney General’s Office, Lopez lied on his job application, denying that he was associating with gang members.
Before his suspension, Lopez had been in regular contact with a prisoner who is a known gang member, Platkin said.
The duo had talked about an assault on a suspected cooperating witness, who they believed had provided information used to put the unnamed gang member behind bars, he continued.
Investigators have said that Lopez also offered to track down the intended target’s location and shared that information with the same known gang member in prison.
Harassment outside school
In June, the Mercer County Prosecutor's Office announced harassment charges against an Officer Rudy Lopez of the Trenton police force, stemming from a morning incident outside Lalor Elementary School in Hamilton.
Government officials have confirmed that it is the same individual.
“Police officers who betray their oaths erode the public’s trust in law enforcement, undermining the image of the vast majority of upstanding public servants who wear the badge and risk their lives to uphold the law,” Platkin said in a written release.
“Instead of serving his community and making it safer, we allege Officer Rudy Lopez was colluding and sharing sensitive information with a convicted felon,” OPIA Executive Director Thomas Eicher said in the same release. “We will have no tolerance for suspected gang associates infiltrating the ranks of New Jersey’s police agencies.”
If convicted of either official misconduct or conspiracy, each second-degree charge carries a sentence of five to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $150,000.
A conviction on third-degree tampering with public records could mean three to five years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000.