By Oren Liebermann
TRENTON, N.J. (CBS) –– The New Jersey Attorney General’s Office suspended two state troopers without pay and transferred a third following what has been called “Death Race 2012.”
On March 30th, witnesses saw a group of about 30 luxury cars speeding down the Garden State Parkway with a police escort and filed a complaint.
Attorney Charles Sciarra says his client, Sergeant First Class Nadir Nassry, was part of the group in his cruiser. But Sciarra insists the incident is being blown out of proportion.
“They are not going to sacrifice my client to the tabloid gods,” said Sciarra. “It’s not going to happen.”
But now Nassry, 47, and Trooper Joseph Ventrella, 28, are suspended without pay as the Attorney General’s Office investigates. Sciarra says it was an escort for a charitable organization, set up with former New York Giants running back Brandon Jacobs.
“My client, as a member of the state police, has done this before. Other members of the state police have done this before. This is something that’s gone on for years.”
In an afternoon press conference, Governor Chris Christie condemned the March episode as an unsafe and awful idea.
“It’s a completely ridiculous story,” said Governor Christie. “Shouldn’t have happened. Dumb thing to do. But, let me assure you, that it’s not the last dumb thing that we will see happen.”
Investigators will look into both the 2010 caravan and the more recent group.
Colonel Joseph Fuentes, Superintendent of the State Police, said, “I will not tolerate this egregious breach of public safety and those responsible will be held fully accountable.”
Sgt. Nassry worked at the Totowa station. The Attorney General’s Office has transferred the Totowa Station Commander pending the conclusion of the investigation. Investigators are trying to find out what knowledge the commander had of the caravans.