Indictment — NJ cop fired gun in argument with woman, threatened sergeant
A South Jersey cop is closer to facing trial on charges that he fired his gun during a violent argument with a woman and then threatening a police sergeant.
Samuel E. Clerico, 49, remains suspended without pay from the Somers Point Police Department.
An Atlantic County grand jury on Tuesday indicted the Egg Harbor Township resident on charges stemming from the series incidents and multiple arrests that took place over the course of nine months in 2015 and 2016.
He could face five to 10 years in prison on each of the most serious charges if convicted.
Clerico was first arrested on Dec. 16, 2015, after the first alleged attack on the woman. He was released after posting $2,500 full cash bail.
He was arrested again two days later after threatening his sergeant but was released without bail.
Less than a year later he was arrested a third time for another alleged attack against the woman. He was released after posting $10,000 full cash bail on the new charges and was ordered to be monitored by GPS for a month and then report regularly to the court.
Prosecutors said Clerico’s victim was someone with whom he had a relationship. She was not identified because she is the victim of domestic violence.
The indictment comprises the following charges:
— Second-degree official misconduct for allegedly “showing his police identification to obtain entry into the hotel room of the female victim” on Dec. 15 in Absecon.
— Third-degree terroristic threats against the woman on Dec. 16, 2015, in Egg Harbor Township.
— Second-degree possession of a handgun for an unlawful purpose.
— Fourth-degree aggravated assault for allegedly “manifesting indifference to the value of human life, point[ing] a firearm” at the victim.
— Second-degree official misconduct for allegedly “discharging his duty weapon during an argument.”
— Second-degree witness tampering for harming Sgt. Howard Dill on Dec. 18, 2015, in Linwood “with purpose to retaliate for or on account of service for another as a witness.”
— Second-degree aggravated assault for allegedly attempting to cause serious bodily harm against the woman on Sept. 9, 2016, in Egg Harbor Township.
— Third-degree aggravated assault while having a dating relationship and/or being a household.
— Third-degree witness tampering by allegedly “knowingly attempt[ing] to induce or otherwise cause [the female victim] to recant her statement to police concerning" the Dec. 16, 2015, incident.
Sergio Bichao is deputy digital editor at New Jersey 101.5. Send him news tips: Call 609-438-1015 or email email@example.com.