BERGEN COUNTY PROSECUTOR ISSUES WARNING REGARDING VIGILANTE ACTIVITY
For Immediate Release:
December 22, 2022
Over the last few months, Bergen County has experienced several instances of a private citizen using the Internet to identify individuals who are attempting to lure minors into sexual activity and arranging for the arrest by law enforcement of these targeted individuals. The scenarios and arrests are then publicized on YouTube.
The Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office and Bergen County law enforcement do not condone this vigilante activity. Bergen County law enforcement strongly discourages this activity, which holds the potential for violence and injury to the individuals involved as well as innocent bystanders. It also jeopardizes the due process rights of potential targets, puts private citizens in danger, and risks involving law enforcement in illegal activity.
Private citizens are advised not to involve themselves in these activities. Bergen County law enforcement will file appropriate charges against individuals who violate the criminal law when pursuing these activities. Private citizens who lure potential defendants will be called to testify as witnesses throughout court proceedings as this practice ensures they are witnesses to an alleged crime. Also note that individuals who engage in this vigilante activity may also be subject to civil liability.