A Trenton police officer allegedly had gang ties and conspired with an imprisoned Latin Kings member to retaliate against a suspected witness in a case, according to Acting New Jersey Attorney General Matthew Platkin.
Rudy Lopez, 36, of Hamilton has been charged with official misconduct, conspiracy, and tampering with public records.
According to the Office of Public Integrity and Accountability in the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office, Lopez, a Trenton police officer since September of 2020, allegedly colluded with a gang member and shared sensitive police information with him. Lopez allegedly fraudulently denied on his job application that he was associating with gang members, all the while regularly communicating with an imprisoned member of the Almighty Latin King and Queen Nation. Lopez is currently suspended with pay.
“Police officers who betray their oaths erode the public’s trust in law enforcement, undermining the image of the vast majority of upstanding public servants who wear the badge and risk their lives to uphold the law,” Platkin said in a written statement. “We expect our police officers to be above this kind of behavior, and those who engage in criminal conduct will be held accountable.”
Lopez and the gang member allegedly discussed an assault as retribution against a suspected cooperating witness. The pair believed the person had provided information to law enforcement that was used to put Lopez’s alleged co-conspirator behind bars. Investigators say Lopez offered to track down the intended target’s location and relayed that information to the inmate.
The official misconduct and conspiracy charges are both second-degree offenses and carry a sentence of five to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $150,000. Tampering with public records is a third-degree crime that could trigger a sentence of three to five years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000.
“We will have no tolerance for suspected gang associates infiltrating the ranks of New Jersey’s police agencies,” said OPIA Executive Director Thomas Eicher said in a written statement about the charges.