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Vindicated Hackensack Police Chief Sues City PD, County Prosecutor, Sheriff

Charles "Ken" Zisa
Charles "Ken" Zisa Photo Credit: COURTESY: Patricia Prezioso

HACKENSACK, N.J. -- Vindicated Hackensack Police Chief Charles "Ken" Zisa has filed a federal lawsuit against the Bergen County prosecutor's and sheriff's offices and the city department he headed, his attorney said early Tuesday.

Zisa was arrested and prosecuted by the BCPO beginning in April 2010, and was convicted in 2012.

Even though the trial judge overturned a significant portion of the conviction, attorney Patricia Prezioso noted that Zisa was "confined under house arrest for nearly three years and forced to wear an ankle-bracelet monitoring device pending his appeal."

Ultimately, the convictions were reversed and the charges dismissed by New Jersey judges who cited an absence of evidence, as well as problems with city police and both the county proescutor's and sheriff's offices, said Prezioso, a partner with the MARC law firm in Florham Park.

Representatives of the county and city law enforcement offices couldn't immediately be reached for comment early Tuesday.

The New Jersey Appellate Division called the conduct of the assistant prosecutor handling the case “astonishingly improper” and described the evidence as “woefully inadequate,” Zisa's attorney said earlier.

Both the Appellate Division and a local judge in Hackensack "specifically noted their disapproval of the purposeful destruction of evidence testified to by BCPO investigators among other unlawful acts," said Prezioso, Zisa’s criminal and civil attorney.

“This lawsuit cannot change the fact that every aspect of Ken Zisa’s life was destroyed by these unlawful acts and this baseless prosecution,” she said. “But, hopefully, holding these defendants accountable and exposing their actions will prevent other victims from suffering through the same ordeal as Ken,”

Zisa has been on administrative leave since his reinstatement.

Prezioso said he "plans to retire after restoration of his pension account is completed and the City of Hackensack fulfills certain contractual obligations.

"Under New Jersey law, forfeiture of his pension and public office was mandatory upon his conviction," she said. "Restoration of both is mandated by law, as well."

Appearances were being scheduled before a U.S. District Court judge in Newark.

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