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Suspension, investigation for judge’s clerk who called NJ state trooper’s death ‘not that sad, certainly not tragic’

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot File Photo
Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot

YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: A Middlesex County judge this afternoon suspended his law clerk for two weeks, with pay, for Facebook posts that accused a State Police trooper who was killed when his cruiser struck a deer of recklessness while expressing sympathy for the “family who lost a mommy or daddy or baby deer.”

The suspension, however, is “pending the outcome of an internal investigation,” Winnie Comfort, the director of communications and community relations for the New Jersey State Judiciary, told CLIFFVIEW PILOT early this evening.

The posts on the News 12 New Jersey Facebook page by Leslie Anderson about the death of NJSP Trooper Anthony Raspa — including that the reactions to it were “hysteria” caused by “emotional infancy” — were pulled after a firestorm erupted yesterday.

But several members of law enforcement had already captured screen shots that were being shared far and wide.

“My impression is that this person has a hatred for us and what we do,” Chris Burgos, president of the State Troopers Fraternal Association, told Donna Weaver of the Atlantic City Press .

“If she says they were made in a private capacity on Facebook that doesn’t cut it anymore, especially from someone entrusted to work for the law,” said Burgos, who is participating in preparations for Raspa’s funeral on Thursday.

Raspa was killed and NJSP Trooper Gene Hong injured when their cruiser struck a deer and veered off I-195 into a bank of trees in Upper Freehold Township at 12:48 a.m. Saturday.

Anderson, a law clerk for Middlesex County Superior Court Judge Travis L. Francis, said in her posts that Raspa’s death was “not that sad, and certainly not ‘tragic.’

“Nonetheless, I agree that it is sad and heart wrenching for the family members left to suffer the consequences of the Trooper’s recklessness—especially for the deer family who lost a mommy or daddy or baby deer,” she added.

“Troopers were probably traveling at a dangerously high speed as per usual. Totally preventable,” wrote Anderson, a Rutgers University Law School graduate who is employed by the state. “At least they didn’t take any of the citizens they are sworn to serve and protect out with them.’

She continued at length, accusing Raspa of recklessness and calling the outpouring of grief and appreciation for the second-year trooper’s brief service “absurd, nonsensical, and completely unwarranted.”

“There are people in this country and around the world dying for much less,” she wrote. “There is nothing ‘tragic’ about this. Get over yourselves and your sense of entitlement, people.”

Raspa (Badge #7425) was a member of the 152nd NJSP Class of 10/04/2013.

It was the first New Jersey State Police line of duty death since James Hoopes was killed in 2012. The last traffic-related death was of Trooper Marc Castellano, who was struck by a car while outside of his vehicle — also on I-195 — in June 2010.

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