By Daniel Nee
A Tuckerton police officer found himself behind bars this week after being arrested on official misconduct and aggravated assault charges for letting his K9 attack and bite a Barnegat woman, and then falsifying reports to cover up the incident.
The charges stem from a Jan. 29 traffic stop in Tuckerton during which the 57-year-old woman allegedly failed to stop after Cpl. Justin Cherry of the Tuckerton Borough Police Department activated his overhead lights.
The woman, according to a statement from the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office, drove from Tuckerton to the parking lot of the Barnegat Township Municipal Complex where she was taken into custody by two officers from the Barnegat Police Department.
It is alleged by prosecutors that Cherry was present in Barnegat at the scene of her arrest and unjustifiably allowed his K-9 to attack and bite the woman. It is also alleged that Cherry falsified his police reports in an effort to "conceal or justify his improper actions," the statement said.
Cherry’s bail was set at $15,000 cash by Superior Court Judge Francis R. Hodgson, Jr. Cherry posted bail and was released pending further court proceedings.
In 2011, according to a report in the Press of Atlantic City, Cherry was cleared by authorities in the fatal shooting of a Tuckerton man after he allegedly threatened Cherry and another officer with a knife.