June 17, 2019 | 78° F

Rutgers officer suspended after suggesting to kill dying bird

Photo by Wikimedia Commons |

A Rutgers University Police Department officer was suspended after suggesting that a dying bird could be helped by stepping on its neck or shooting it.

A former Rutgers University Police Department officer is involved in a dispute with the school after he told a University employee that a dying bird could be helped by "stepping on its neck."

The incident, first reported by  New Jersey 101.5, began after Officer Edward Ruff responded to a call from a University employee about a dead bird on campus. Ruff allegedly said he could help the bird by "stepping on its neck or putting a bullet in it." The employee then filed a complaint against the officer. 

Ruff allegedly attempted to conduct a criminal background check and warrant search on the employee,  New Jersey 101.5 reported. Ruff was charged with nine police code violations as a result of the incident and the RUPD suspended Ruff for 80 hours. 

Ruff has since left the RUPD and now makes $65,000 at the Verona police force, but he continues to appeal the Public Employment Relations Commission decision to not grant him arbitration, according to  New Jersey 101.5. Ruff claims he was not given evidence before his pre-disciplinary hearing and that he did not have enough time to prepare his defense for his hearing, which was scheduled within two days of the the complaint being received.

The officer is also suing the University and its police department in court, claiming his due process rights were violated,  New Jersey 101.5 reported. He is seeking an unspecified amount in damages and a court order to overturn his 80-hour suspension, which he claims should have been 40 hours because he was charged with a "minor complaint," but given the punishment of a "major discipline."

A Rutgers spokesman declined to comment on the litigation.

Avalon Zoppo is the managing editor of The Daily Targum. She is a School of Arts and Sciences junior majoring in political science. Follow her on Twitter @AvalonZoppo for more stories.

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