Sixty three year old Roy Campbell has been a common feature of the affluent Glen Ridge area for the past five years. In those five years Campbell has given many rides to the residents and visitors here without charging a penny.
An employee of Glen Ridge, as a jitney driver, Campbell has many fans in the community, fans that came to his court date in a show of support and in disbelief that the man they know as a helpful friend could be guilty of the harassment he was charged with.
Campbell was charged with harassment in early March of this year when he was accused of touching a passenger inappropriately. This “inappropriate” touch involved Campbell putting his hands on the forearms of 53 year old female.
According to Campbell he got off the bus to thank the woman, who he knew, for a favor. Coincidentally a few days earlier Campbell had actually helped the alleged victim by getting a disabled vehicle towed from her home.
A police officer saw Campbell approach the woman and get what he thought was “too close” to her. The officer, a rookie names Michelle Provenzano, urged Campbell to “be on with his business” and move away from the woman. The woman reportedly thanked her.
Many in the community see this case as an overreaction and claim the situation stinks of racial discrimination. Campbell’s defense attorney is quoted in this Star-Ledger report as stating the situation is “more akin to something out of Birmingham, Ala., in the 1950s”. He goes on to allege that the end result would have not been criminal charges if Campbell was a weathy white man.
Regardless of the motivation, the harassment charges were dropped and Campbell’s supporters did not have to speak on his behalf, something that many were prepared to do.
However, in order for the charges to be dropped, Campbell was required to apologize for the misunderstanding and refrain from having contact with the woman in question.
Harassment is defined in several manners under New Jersey law. One of the possible definitions that were likely being used in the charges against Mr. Campbell was “acting in a manner to cause annoyance or alarm” or “subjecting another to offensive touching”.
The criminal offense of harassment is related to the disorderly persons crimes. If you are accused of either of these you need an aggressive defense attorney on your site representing your best interests.