Charges Announced in Connection with Vandalism to Church Sign

Published on June 01, 2023

Morris County Prosecutor Robert J. Carroll, Chief of Detectives Robert M. McNally, Sheriff James Gannon, and Morristown Chief Darnell Richardson announce a charge has been filed in connection with vandalism done to the sign of Church of the Redeemer in Morristown on May 20, 2023.

Following an investigation, a 22-year-old man turned himself in to Morristown Police Department headquarters on May 30, 2023. The defendant allegedly saw surveillance photos of himself released last weekend through the Crimestoppers program. The photos were of several individuals walking east on South Street at approximately 1:26 a.m. the morning of May 20. Some in the group were observed hitting and/or damaging multiple signs as they traveled and ultimately entered two vehicles parked on Dumont Place.

The defendant has been charged with criminal mischief, a third-degree crime, and was released on summons. Subsequent investigation concluded that charges were not warranted for the other individuals.

The Morris County Prosecutor’s Office conducted an investigation into whether or not the vandalism should be considered a bias incident, as the sign was in close proximity to a series of rainbow flags set up outside of the church. It was determined the vandalism does not meet the criteria to be a bias-based or hate crime as the evidence established an intent only to damage property.

Prosecutor Carroll said, “Based on our investigation, we believe this defendant demonstrated conduct that is actionable but not indicative of a hate-based crime. I applaud the coordination between the Morristown Police Department, Morris County Prosecutor’s Office, Morris County Sheriff’s Office, and Crimestoppers that led to this charge being filed. I thank Chief Richardson and his Department for their prompt response and Rev. Black for meeting and fully cooperating with my office, which greatly assisted in the investigation.   I hope Morris County law enforcement’s combined response and thoroughness can put the community at ease.”

Media inquiries concerning this press release should be directed to [email protected].



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