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In re Barnwell

Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division

August 14, 2013

IN THE MATTER OF CARLOS BARNWELL, BURLINGTON COUNTY JAIL, Petitioner-Appellant.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted February 4, 2013

On appeal from the Civil Service Commission, Docket No. 2010-3455.

Law Office of Mark W. Catanzaro, attorneys for appellant Carlos Barnwell (Mr. Catanzaro, on the brief).

Capehart & Scatchard, P.A., attorneys for respondent Burlington County Jail (Robert J. Hagerty, of counsel and on the brief).

Jeffrey S. Chiesa, Attorney General, attorney for respondent Civil Service Commission (Todd A. Wigder, Deputy Attorney General, on the brief).

Before Judges Graves and Guadagno.

PER CURIAM

Carlos Barnwell, a correction sergeant at the Burlington County Jail, appeals from a May 4, 2011 final decision of the Civil Service Commission (the Commission). The Commission upheld the Burlington County Jail's decision to demote Barnwell to his current position, following his failure to properly perform his duties as a correction lieutenant. We affirm.

On January 16, 2010, Barnwell was working the 3:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. shift at the Burlington County Jail as a correction lieutenant, where he had worked since 1993. At approximately 10:00 p.m., Sergeant Phillip Morris told Barnwell that he spoke with inmate Henry Weaver, who complained of "shortness of breath" and "chest pains." Barnwell authorized Weaver to see the nurse practitioner. Weaver told the nurse he had been "assaulted by an officer, slammed on the . . . floor" and had "his head stomped five to six times."

According to Barnwell, he instructed Morris to write an incident report and to put a copy "in the Captain's packet." However, Barnwell conceded he never verified that Morris did so, and he acknowledged, "I should have, but I didn't." He explained the incident occurred toward the end of his shift and he wanted to "get out of there."

The next day, Sergeant Francisco Grupico wrote a report to the shift captain, stating that during the shift change at 11:00 p.m. on January 16, 2010, Morris told him that inmate Weaver said "he was assaulted by seven officers on his shift. Sgt. Morris said the inmate was seen and cleared by the staff nurse." Grupico also reported that Weaver told him "he was beaten up by seven officers on the earlier shift" and Weaver gave Grupico a note:

On the note from inmate Weaver he stated after jokes were made officers came to his cell and had his roommate . . . step out of the room as the seven officers assaulted him inside his cell. Inmate Weaver stated that he was pinned to the ground and his head slammed several times to the ground and stepped on. Inmate Weaver also stated that he was taken to see the nurse and was threatened by the officers. Inmate Weaver named seven [officers] on his paper.

At Grupico's request, the nurse also filed an incident report. She stated Weaver was treated for scratches on his back and a small abrasion on his left elbow, and he complained of chest pain and trouble breathing. The report also stated she offered Weaver protective custody, but he refused. In an addendum to the report, ...


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