Monday, bloody Monday

By Karen Zautyk
Observer Correspondent


What began as a call last week to break up a street fight ended with one of the combatants hospitalized, three Kearny police cars put out of service, three officers assaulted, their uniforms and much of their personal police equipment contaminated beyond salvaging, and the cell block and booking room at police headquarters requiring a Hazmat cleanup, Kearny Police Chief John Dowie reported.

It all started around 10:30 p.m. Monday, April 22, when the KPD started receiving numerous reports of a large fight on Maple St. near Johnston Ave.

Officers Chris Medina, Kevin Canaley and Tim Castle responded in their patrol cars, arriving to find several persons fighting and bleeding — amid garbage spewed all over the area from toppled trash cans.

When the officers attempted to disperse the crowd, separate the combatants, restore order and gather information relative to the melee, they were set upon and assaulted by two of the bloody brawlers, who violently resisted arrest, police reported.

Even after being overpowered by the officers and handcuffed, they continued their combative behavior, with one attempting to kick out a patrol car window, police said. That arrestee had to be transferred to yet another car. Once at headquarters, the officers reportedly were assaulted again.

The three patrol cars were all contaminated with blood, as were the arresting officers’ uniforms and equipment. And by the time the suspects were booked, the cells and muster room were also a bloody mess.

One of the prisoners spent the night in the hospital but was back in time to join his buddy for a trip to the county jail in the morning, Dowie said.

The combatant requiring medical attention was identified as 24-year-old Kearny resident Kenny Negrin, who reportedly complained of pain while being processed at HQ. He was transported to Clara Maass Medical Center in Belleville, treated and released back into KPD custody.

Negrin was charged with disorderly conduct, three counts of aggravated assault on police officers, and resisting arrest.

Arrested with him was Gianfranco Niccodemi, 21, also of Kearny, who was charged with disorderly conduct, obstructing the administration of law, resisting arrest, and aggravated assault on a police officer.

All of the officers declined medical attention for their various bumps and scrapes, donned fresh uniforms and completed the remainder of their shift after attending to a mountain of paperwork, Dowie noted.

Meanwhile, the KPD also had to deal with its blood-contaminated premises and called in a biohazard cleanup unit.

According to the chief, records show the KPD had a need for biohazard cleanups eight times in 2012 “for incidents such as the latest one and also for cases where we arrest someone who lets us know after the fact that they have a communicable illness, gets sick in the cell block or police car or booking area, etc.”

The current contracted provider of such services for Kearny is a nationwide company called Aftermath.

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