Pastor alleges bias in Route 1 S.B. traffic stop Minister charged with delaying traffic

Staff Writer

by Raymond Road

Pastor alleges bias in Route 1 S.B. traffic stop
Minister charged with
delaying traffic
Staff Writer

SOUTH BRUNSWICK — Police are investigating a bias complaint against one of their own.

"The investigation is ongoing," Capt. Michael Marosi said Wednesday. "I would be very surprised if one of our officers acted inappropriately."

The Rev. Sherwyn James, 34, of Queens, N.Y., has filed a complaint against Patrolman Michael Rogers charging racial bias following a motor vehicle stop on Route 1 and Raymond Road in the early morning hours of June 17.

James, an African-American who resides in Queens, travels to South Brunswick on weekends to serve as pastor for the Mount Zion AME Church on Old Road.

According to police, James received a summons for delaying traffic.

James claims that Rogers issued the summons because of racial bias.

Rogers stopped James for traveling at 40 mph in a 55 mph zone.

James claims that he had just pulled onto Route 1 from the Days Inn, where he stays on the weekends, and did not have time to accelerate before being pulled over by Rogers.

Mayor Debra Johnson said Wednesday that she had spoken with James by phone, but plans to meet with him personally to discuss the situation.

Marosi said that the internal investigation into the incident is ongoing.

"Keeping up with the traffic is a general rule of the road," Marosi said.

He also said that in many DWI cases, the motorist is either driving too fast or even too slow, something officers keep their eye out for.

Johnson said James "offered to take a breath test, but was not given one."

Marosi said that he could not comment on the details of the complaint because of the investigation.

Johnson said that she wants to hear the outcome of the investigation before commenting on the department.

"I very much want to know what they will come up with," she said.

Johnson said that she first learned of the incident on June 18 after receiving several phone calls from members of the church.

"We have many impartial and fair, clear-headed officers in this department to look into this," Johnson said. "I take these complaints very seriously and will proceed really cautiously. There are two sides to each story."

Marosi said that almost all of the officers in the department have had cultural diversity training, and that some have "taken the program more than once."

Marosi said that the type of ticket given to James is not uncommon on Route 1.