FREEHOLD – An Internal Review of the law enforcement response to the brutal killing of Tamara Seidle on June 16, 2015, has been released by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office. The report concludes that although deadly force could not have reasonably been used against Philip Seidle, who killed his wife Tamara in the middle of a residential neighborhood, ineffective communication, a lack of information about whether Philip Seidle was involved in police activity, as well as an absence of command and control by the highest-ranking officer first on the scene, contributed to the chaotic events of last year, announced Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.
“The events that unfolded the morning of June 16, 2015, were extraordinary and aberrational. The factual scenario that defined this incident is not found in textbooks or in state-mandated training standards at our police academy because it could not have been anticipated. It was necessary to view this incident through a critical lens to determine what lessons can be learned and improvements made to law enforcement in Monmouth County,” Gramiccioni said.
Off-duty Neptune Township Police Sgt. Philip Seidle viciously killed his ex-wife, Tamara Seidle, near the heavily populated residential intersection of Ridge and Sewall Avenues in Asbury Park, at approximately 11:28 a.m. on June 16, 2015. The killing occurred after a high-speed car chase that culminated with Seidle crashing into Tamara’s car, firing a gun into her vehicle in two separate volleys, and then putting the gun to his own head threatening suicide. As if the senseless brutality of Tamara’s murder was not in its own right unimaginably violent, the fact that Seidle committed this act in front of their 7-year-old child, who sat in his vehicle at the time he fired the first round of gunshots, shocked the conscience of an entire community and law enforcement.
This detailed Internal Review included interviewing and taking statements from 110 individuals including: police officers from the Asbury Park Police and Neptune Township Police Departments; residents who live in the neighborhood; workers employed by Campbell Supply, a company located in the immediate vicinity of the incident; civilians present in the neighborhood that day, as well as individuals from a nearby school; Asbury Park Fire Department and staff from both the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s and Sheriff’s Offices, who arrived after the shooting took place. The law enforcement executives at both the Neptune Township Police Department and the Asbury Park Police Department cooperated fully with this process and provided all requested documents, video footage, and most importantly, provided access to their officers and staff.
The Internal Review also disclosed a deficiency in the domestic violence policies and procedures that currently exist statewide.
“It is clear that domestic violence incidents that do not rise to the level of the filing of criminal charges or a temporary restraining order being issued may still call into question the fitness-for-duty of a police officer. Moreover, a police officer who has numerous Internal Affairs complaints – either due to internal departmental policy violations or from complaints by citizens – raises a red flag which may warrant a fitness-for-duty evaluation by the agency,” Gramiccioni said.
To remedy the situation, Gramiccioni has instituted a new “Early Warning System” to tighten the grip on domestic violence incidents involving law enforcement officers in Monmouth County and to identify officers who have a higher than normal number of complaints filed against them.
“We are hopeful this new Early Warning System will provide an added layer of oversight to root out police officers who tarnish the badges that the vast majority of officers wear with honor,” Gramiccioni said.
Additional information and a detailed assessment of the incident are contained in the full report released today is included in the CD included in the press kit.
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Full Report with Appendices
APPO 1 MVR video June 16, 2016
APPO 2 MVR video June 16, 2016