Lawyers: 2 Jersey City police officers shouldn't face criminal charges in pizza case

JERSEY CITY, New Jersey (WABC) -- Two Jersey City police officers accused of getting into a fight with a pizza shop manager made their first court appearance Wednesday.

Cell phone video of the dispute led to the officers getting suspended and criminally charged.

But their attorneys insist this is unfair treatment of police.

The appearances of Rodney Clark and Courtney Solomon lasted a few seconds each.

Both are off the street without pay after the Hudson County Prosecutor's Office found probable cause to charge them following the dispute at the Domino's Pizza on Communipaw Avenue on March 27th.

The restaurant apparently did not deliver a pizza that the officers ordered. After what was described as a heated phone call to Domino's, the officers showed up.

Witnesses alleged that the officers arrived and threatened, grabbed and dragged the store manager.

Cell phone video and the store's surveillance videos got into the hands of investigators and the officers ended up being charged with disorderly conduct and making terroristic threats against the manager.

Their attorneys disagree. "As far as I'm concerned, the video I've seen, my client and his client were trying to defuse the situation," said Clark's attorney Jeffrey Garrigan. "You can hear them say nobody's in trouble, we just want to talk to this gentleman and this gentleman was putting on some sort of show for the employees."

The attorneys believe it's just the latest in a string of Jersey City cops being unfairly accused of crimes. "How this became criminal, I have no idea," said Clark. "It's been open season on Jersey City police for the last couple of months."

"It's simply a dispute between two gentlemen and it's getting blown out of proportion because there happened to be a video camera there to capture the events, and these gentlemen happened to be in uniform. There's no abuse of power," said Solomon's attorney Wolodymyr Tyshchenko.

The officers are due back in court May 9th. Their attorneys hope to have this resolved without a trial. "My hope is the prosecutor's office realizes this is not an indictable offense and they decide to potentially remand it back to the municipal court or dismiss the charges," said Clark.

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