TO: ALL NEWS MEDIA
FROM: PROSECUTOR GURBIR S. GREWAL
DATE: DECEMBER 5, 2016
Bergen County Prosecutor Gurbir S. Grewal announced the arrests today of the following Belleville Police Officers: JOHN CLARIZIO (DOB: 11/27/1984; single) on one count of Simple Assault and one count of Hindering Apprehension; MARCO ZARFINO (DOB: 06/11/1992; married) on two counts of Simple Assault; JESSE MCKEOUGH (DOB: 09/04/1988; single) on one count of Simple Assault; and GIOVANNI CASILLO (DOB: 10/15/1977; married) on one count of Simple Assault. In addition, VASILIOS THEOFANIDIS (DOB: 07/12/1977; single; and employed as a pool technician) was charged with one count of Simple Assault. The arrests are the result of a joint investigation conducted by members of the Bergen County Prosecutor's Office under the direction of Chief Robert ANZILOTTI, and the Belleville Police Department under the direction of Chief Mark MANICHINI.
On Monday, October 31, 2016, the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office received information from the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office that a number of off-duty Belleville Police Officers were involved in a large, physical altercation at a bar in North Arlington, NJ that occurred at approximately 1:00 a.m. on October 21, 2016. An ensuing investigation by members of the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office Confidential Investigation Unit revealed that off-duty Belleville Police Officers were, in fact, involved in a physical altercation inside the bar with civilian patrons. The parties involved in the altercation were led out of the bar by security. A physical altercation, however, continued outside the bar between several of the off-duty police officers and civilians, until the arrival of Lyndhurst and North Arlington Police Officers, who took control of the situation.
As a result of the physical altercation, one civilian was transported to Hackensack University Medical Center for minor medical attention and later released. At the time of the incident, no criminal charges were filed against any person involved in the physical altercation. However, the investigation subsequently revealed that Police Officer CLARIZIO provided false information to a Lyndhurst Police Officer who had responded to the scene.
As a result of the investigation, the following individuals were served with a Complaint-Summons issued by the Bergen County Central Municipal Court on December 5, 2016 in Hackensack and charged with the following crimes: JOHN CLARIZIO was charged with one count of Hindering Apprehension, N.J.S.A. 2C:29-3b(4), a Disorderly Persons Offense, and one count of Simple Assault, N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1a(1), a Disorderly Persons Offense; MARCO ZARFINO was charged with two counts of Simple Assault, N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1a(1), a Disorderly Persons Offense; JESSE MCKEOUGH was charged with one count of Simple Assault, N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1a(1), a Disorderly Persons Offense; and GIOVANNI CASILLO was charged with one count of Simple Assault, N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1a(1), a Disorderly Persons Offense; and VASILIOS THEOFANIDIS was charged with one count of Simple Assault, N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1a(1), a Disorderly Persons Offense.
CLARIZIO, ZARFINO, MCKEOUGH, CASILLO, and THEOFANIDIS are all scheduled to appear in Bergen County Central Judicial Processing Court for a first appearance on December 14, 2016 at 8:30 a.m.
Bergen County Prosecutor Grewal states that these charges are merely accusations and that the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, and would also like to thank the Belleville Police Department for their assistance in this investigation.