UNION COUNTY — Tina Renna, president Union County Watchdog Association, is demanding answers from Westfield officials concerning the dismissal of two disorderly persons charges filed against a politically-connected police officer.
But sources say Gennaro J. Mirabella was forced to resign as a Garwood police officer as part of a plea bargain that ended his prosecution, despite evidence against him that included his acts caught on video.
The former officer is the brother of Union County Freeholder Alexander Mirabella and son of former Elizabeth Police Chief Gene Mirabella.
On Sept. 3, Garwood Police Capt. Leonard DiStefano filed two disorderly persons complaints against Mirabella, but the case was moved to municipal court in Westfield to avoid a conflict of interest.
The first complaint alleged that Mirabella was caught on video “purposely tampering with” two currency-to-coin changers at the Jumbo Wash laundry facility and the second charged that he was caught on video opening the drawers of Garwood Borough’s chief financial officer.
“We believe that some members of the public might suspect that Mirabella was spared prosecution due to his status as a police officer and a Freeholder’s brother,” wrote Renna in a letter to Westfield Mayor Andy Skibitsky and members of the Westfield Town Council.<
“A belief that justice was subverted is specially easy to embrace given that Mirabella’s guilt apparently would not have been difficult to prove since both of the offenses were reportedly caught on tape,” Renna said in her letter.
The Garwood Borough Council accepted Mirabella’s resignation at its Sept. 22 meeting, then on Oct. 14, both charges against Mirabella were dismissed.
It is not clear if the plea agreement included a stipulation that would prevent Mirabella from public employment in the future.