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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Edison, New Jersey Officer Michael Dotro Accused of Firebombing Police Captain's House

     Michael A. Dotro, a nine year veteran of the Edison, New Jersey Police Department, worked in the internal affairs unit. Since the 36-year-old officer had a history of misconduct complaints, including charges of excessive force, he didn't seem to be the right person for the job. But nothing within the Edison Police Department was right.

     For years, officers on this police force had been engaged in a civil war. Cops were suing each other, and there were accusations that detectives in the internal affairs unit were gathering information on local politicians and others, and ignoring citizen complaints of police brutality.

     In 2005, a member of the Asian-Indian community who had been arrested by officer Dotro accused him of police brutality. Amid citizen protests, and a lot of bad publicity, Dotro was administratively cleared of any wrongdoing.

     Three years after the excessive force complaint, Dotro got into a fistfight with his 68-year-old neighbor, Dennis Sassa. Mr. Sassa claimed that the then 31-year-old officer had punched him in the face six times. The dispute revolved around a shed that sat on Dotro's property. Both men filed assault charges, and both were acquitted in municipal court. (Shortly before the fight, someone had torched a shed on Mr. Sassa's property. Flames from the structure had spread to a camper and to Sassa's house.)

     Edison Police Captain Mark Anderko considered Michael Dotro unfit to be an officer of the law. Captain Anderko and officer Dotro were on opposing sides in the departmental civil war. With 24 years on the force, Captain Anderko served as the top aide to Chief Thomas Bryan. Anderko resided in a two-story colonial home in Middlesex County's Monroe Township with his wife, their two children, and his 92-year-old mother.

     At four in the morning of Monday, May 20, 2013, someone firebombed Captain Anderko's home. The family dog alerted Anderko's wife who woke up the other four occupants of the dwelling. No one was injured, but the fire destroyed the front section of the house where the children had been sleeping.

     On Thursday afternoon, May 23, 2013, officers with the Edison Police Department arrested Michael Dotro and searched his Manalapan, New Jersey home. Charged with five counts of attempted murder and aggravated arson, a Superior Court judge set the officer's bond at $5 million. He is incarcerated in the Middlesex County Jail. Following the arrest, Chief Byran placed officer Dotro on paid administrative leave. (The accused cop receives an annual salary of $118,000. Law enforcement is no longer a low-paying occupation.)

   

   

     

2 comments:

  1. 118k per year for a municipal police officer! Wow how does a town afford that, can you imagine the salaries along with benefits/pensions? Their taxes must be through the roof.

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  2. It's so amazing how when it's a fellow officers home or family that's in danger everyone's on the case!! But when there's complaints put in against an officer from an outside person, that gets dismissed quick as hell!! While it's happening to us they don't give a crap but god forbid its one of there own!! So much for "to serve and protect"!

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