2 police officers plead guilty to vandalizing cars belonging to man who filed complaint against them

Crime in Indianapolis

Asbury Park Police Department vehicle

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Two New Jersey police officers have pleaded guilty to vandalizing the cars of a man who filed a complaint against them.

Stephen Martinsen and Thomas Dowling — both of whom were officers with Asbury Park police at the time — admitted to slashing tires of two cars and breaking the windows in one, the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office said in a statement.

The incident happened in September 2019. The men confessed their act of vandalism was retaliation for the cars’ owner filing an internal affairs complaint against them with Asbury Park, the statement said.

The Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office didn’t say what the complaint was about. CNN has reached out to the Asbury Park Police Department for comment and is waiting to hear back.

The officers caused more than $500 in damage, the statement said

As part of the plea agreement, the men are required to reimburse the damage costs and are permanently barred from any public service employment in New Jersey.

Martinsen had been suspended without pay since the incident occurred, while Dowling was fired when charges were originally filed, the release said.

Martinsen and Dowling will be sentenced on October 16, though prosecutors have recommended probation once the officers pay for the damages as part of their plea deal, the release said.

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