TRENTON >> An attorney for NJ Weedman wrote a scathing letter Tuesday addressed to the city’s police director, accusing his officers of illegally harassing the marijuana activist at his downtown Trenton restaurant and exchanging sex for protection.
Calling for city police director Ernest Parrey to step down, the East Windsor attorney said the capital city has been overrun by an “armed militia” that has done little to staunch violence and has dedicated countless resources to stamping out Ed Forchion’s restaurant.
Attorney Ed Heyburn ticked down a long list of grievances with city police in playing the race card. He condemned Trenton Police for conduct that wouldn’t be tolerated in “white communities” and called on Parrey to resign his post.
“The job is not for you,” he wrote. “Let a better man or woman take the job, one who will enforce the law appropriately. One who will not turn the police into thugs that victimize the very people who pay their salaries. … You and your militia will be tried for your civil rights violations.”
Heyburn was referring to an April raid that led to the arrest of the prominent marijuana activist, along with 10 others, as well as more than 20 tickets the city force has issued Forchion for keeping his business open past 11 p.m.
Parrey hung up on a Trentonian reporter when he was contacted for comment.
Heyburn represents Forchion in his criminal case and two lawsuits filed against the city for violating religious and civil rights.
The attorney said he was directing Parrey “to cease and desist your illegal and dangerous conduct before one of your officers shoots and kills a civilian for what is patently lawful conduct. While men of your ilk have been allowed to operate beyond the bounds of the law, those days are over. The public has seen the deadly results of police misconduct.”
Heyburn mentioned names of several black people killed across the county, including Eric Garner who died after he was wrestled to the ground by a New York police officer and put in a chokehold.
Like other police-involved encounters with African-Americans in the U.S., Garner’s death prompted protests.
Heyburn’s letter came a day after city clerk Richard Kachmar walked back his decision to revoke Forchion’s business license based on numerous citations for violating the city’s curfew.
Last week, the city clerk revoked Forchion’s license but took it back after he determined the marijuana activist wasn’t given proper notice.
The letter was sent to his mother’s home in Sicklerville. He doesn’t live there.
Forchion challenged the decision, arguing he wasn’t allowed due process to counter police claims that he is breaking the law.
He contends his business is allowed to stay open late because it is in a business zone and the statute applies only to businesses in residential zones.
In the biting letter, Heyburn brought up a recent prostitution sex scandal that has roiled the police department and led one of their own to take his life.
The Trentonian first reported the death of K-9 officer Ed Leopardi, who shot himself in his Gloucester County home after it was reported he was under investigation for having sex with a prostitute at police canine headquarters on East State Street.
The Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office is investigating the woman’s allegations. She has implicated as many as five Trenton Police officers who allegedly had sex with her, according to multiple police sources.
The woman outed Leopardi after she was arrested on an unrelated matter.
“The Trenton residents have suffered too much at the hands of your department,” Heyburn wrote. “Your department has exploited prostitutes and forced them to exchange sex for protection.”
The attorney accused the department leader of failing to have his officers properly trained on ordinance enforcement. He said he took testimony from police officer Sheehan Miles, who said a supervisor sent him and partner Randall Hanson to NJ Weedman’s Joint on May 19 to see if it was open late.
“Officer Miles issues tickets based on his interpretation or misinterpretation of these ordinances,” Heyburn charged. “As Trenton Police director, you should have an appropriate understanding of Trenton municipal ordinances.”