Monday, October 08, 2007


Feds probe Edison police

Incident involves man's deportation

Thursday, October 04, 2007
Star-Ledger Staff

Complaints about the arrest and deportation of an Indian man who accused Edison police of brutality have led to a review by an arm of the Department of Homeland Security.

According to a letter from the department's Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, the agency will investigate whether immigration authorities obstructed Rajnikant Parikh's access to the legal system.

Parikh, a liquor store clerk, be came a source of controversy after claiming an Edison police officer used excessive force while arresting him at a 2006 July Fourth event.

Edison officer Michael Dotro charged Parikh with trying to hit him and inciting others to attack him as he tried to disperse a crowd watching an illegal fireworks display at an apartment complex.

A month later, Parikh was arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents at a rally while he protested Dotro's actions in front of the Edison municipal building. He was deported in April.

At the time of his deportation, Parikh was in ongoing proceedings with Edison over the municipal charges, and he sought the police department's internal investigation reports regarding both arrests.

The civil rights office hears complaints regarding profiling, conditions in detention and the abuse of authority by Department of Homeland Security staff. It has received 300 complaints from August 2003 through September 2006, according to its latest annual report. Of all complaints, 155 remain open, and three-fourths pertain to actions by immigration and border patrol officials.

"It's a positive development," said Ravinder Bhalla, Parikh's attorney in the municipal case. "ICE has a responsibility to investigate whether its employees acted wrongfully."

Edison's internal investigation cleared Dotro and the department of wrongdoing in both arrests of Parikh. But sources familiar with the investigations previously have said Parikh's immigration arrest at the August rally came after Dotro passed information on to his brother, an ICE attorney. Those sources requested anonymity because they are not authorized to discuss the matter.
Edison Policemen's Benevolent Association President Michael Schwarz had no comment on the federal review. "It was a lawful arrest," he said.

Immigration officials defended their arrest and deportation of Pa rikh, stating he was an illegal immigrant.

Parikh entered the country illegally in 1995 and was caught by U.S. border-patrol authorities in Texas. He was using the alias Amit Sheth and was ordered deported the next year, immigration officials said. Under the name Rajnikant Parikh, he obtained a work visa in 1999. Because of his outstanding deportation order, he was arrested in Edison.

But Dave Makkar, a Springfield resident who made the complaint about Parikh's treatment to the federal government in May, said his questions didn't concern the legality of Parikh's deportation.

"All this effort for someone who had nothing in his record other than the deportation warrant," Makkar said,
comparing Parikh's case with that of Jose Lachira Carranza, one of the men charged in the Aug. 4 shooting deaths of three college students in a Newark schoolyard.

Carranza made bail and was released from jail in May after being charged with sexually assaulting a child. At the time, it was not known to the court that Carranza, a Peruvian immigrant, was in the country illegally.

"Why all that special effort for (Parikh)?" Makkar said. "Because he's from India?"

Parikh is now in his native village, Bhalla said, and intends to file a federal suit against the Edison police department, its mayor and police chief, Dotro and his brother, and the Department of Homeland Security.

"His rights were violated on several fronts by more than one entity," Bhalla said.

Suleman Din may be reached at or (732) 404-8084.

Monday, July 09, 2007


Citizens For Democracy
568 Ashwood Rd.
Springfield, NJ 07081
973 416 1600 F 973 416 1500

May 14, 2007
Department of Homeland Security
Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties
Mail Stop #0800
Washington, D.C. 20528

Attn.: Case Problems

Re: Complaint against ICE Newark, State of New Jersey etc. for violating US
Constitution, The Bill of Rights and The Pledge of Allegiance in the matters of
Rajnikant Parikh A# 078 824 449 Aka Amit Sheth A# 73 761 383

Dear Sir/Madam:

In reference to the above Complaint the followings along with some unknown individuals have violated the US Constitution, The Bill of Rights and the Pledge of Allegiance while arresting and deporting Mr. Parikh where as they are sworn to uphold it.

ICE (Newark):
Attorney Sam Dotro, officer Peralta and others (unknown) in hatching up a conspiracy with Edison Patrolman Michael Dotro etc. to arrest Mr. Parikh on Aug.2, 06 in violation of his Free Speech Rights and under selective enforcement of Law . Also ICE officer Shaughnessy and others (unknown) conspired to cover up the unlawful behavior of Counsel Dotro, officer Peralta and others (unknown)

State of New Jersey: Ms. Hester Agudosi Head of Bias Crime Unit in AG’s office for helping and aiding Twp. of Edison and Middlesex County Prosecutor to cover up the July 4, 2006 incident of Police Brutality under racial bias by Patrolman Dotro against Mr. Parikh and then falsely implicating him under fabricated criminal charges. Governor Corzine and Attorney General Stubner both failed to live up to their constitutional fiduciary duties to do something right when the matters were brought to their attention.

Township of Edison: Mayor Jun Choi, Police Chief George Mieczkowski, Detective Ronnie Mieczkowski, Police Union President Michael Schwartz and others (unknown) conspired to cover up the brutality under racial bias done by Patrolman Michael Dotro against Mr. Parikh and the conspiracy hatched by Patrolman Dotro with his brother ICE attorney Sam Dotro etc. in Mr. Parikh’s subsequent arrest by ICE officer Peralta.

Middlesex County: Prosecutor Bruce Kaplan and others (unknown) for helping and aiding Twp. of Edison, Edison Police Department and Police Union to cover up the incidents of July 4th police brutality under racial bias and conspiracy hatched by Police Department and Police Union with ICE Newark in the arrest of Mr. Parikh on Aug.2, 06.

Police Union: PBA President Michael Schwartz and others (unknown) for forcing the Twp. of Edison, Middlesex County Prosecutor and State Bias Crime Unit to clear Patrolman Dotro of all charges in the course of 2 separate Internal Investigations done by the twp. Later they conspired with Superior Court Judge Robert Longhi to deny justice to Mr. Parikh by withholding the release of 2 Internal Affair investigation files of Edison to his counsels. PBA/Police Union is also behind the worst ever called Racial Slurs against the entire Indian- American community of New Jersey in the history of America by its members, their family members and supporters, “Indians are Cockroaches Animals, Illiterates, and Illegal Go Home.”

Superior Court Judge: Robert Longhi knowingly conspired with Police Union President Michael Schwartz to deny justice to Mr. Parikh. He broke all Court notification rules and ignored all State and Federal precedents in such criminal trials. He openly lied in the Court also and he knew it he is retiring next month. (Docket # 2006-000959-1205)

Although Mr. Parikh has already been deported to India on April 12, 2007 but the residents of New Jersey and Mr. Parikh’s US born wife deserve to know who is accountable for the violation to US Constitution, The Bill of Rights and The Pledge of Allegiance, misuse of State and Federal resources including over $100,000.00 spent just to deport 1 individual in gross violation to his basic human rights.

All those involved in this heinous crime of violating US Laws did it with full understanding and knowledge of law. These are the individuals who are sworn to uphold US Constitution, The Bill of Rights and The Pledge of Allegiance and they have knowingly violated it. Some one from the Federal Government has to stand up in front of them and show them there is accountability for their actions.

Inadvertently a Complaint was filed on 3-28-07 in the above matters with USCIS Ombudsman Mr. Prakash Khatri who also failed in his constitutional duties to forward the same in timely manner to the office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties. Mr. Khatri has been requested to forward the Complaint along with all attachments to your office.

We hope justice will be done, accountability will be established and those found guilty will be punished to the maximum extent of the law.
Dave Makkar (Media spokesperson)

Encl.: Request to USCIS Ombudsman to forward the Complaint to your office 5-14-07
Letter received from USCIS Ombudsman post marked 4-25-07
Sequence of events July 4th 2006 to April 12, 2007 NJ & ICE violated US Laws
Federal & State Legal precedents in releasing IA investigations
The Bill of Rights (Brief summary)
Copy of the Complaint sent to USCIS Ombudsman on 3-28-07
Copy of the Notice sent to ICE Newark on 4-04-07
8News Articles: 8-11-06, 12-21-06, 2-14-07, 2-27, 3-03, 3-06, 4-14, 4-19-07
ICE officer Peralta calling F****** Mexican for his colleague on cell phone
Statement made by Hunger Strikers against Racial Slurs at Human Relations

Sunday, July 08, 2007


Protester's arrest tied to 'leak' by Edison cop
Probe links officer spoke to brother, an ICE lawyer

BY SULEMAN DIN Star-Ledger Staff Thursday, December 21, 2006

The deportation arrest of an Indian man during a rally protesting alleged police brutality in Edison came after information was passed between the accused officer and his brother, an attorney with the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, people familiar with the case said.

The public arrest of Rajnikant Parikh as he marched in front of Edison town hall Aug. 2 inflamed tensions between the township's burgeoning Asian-Indian community and the police department, and led to a four-month internal investigation reviewed by the state attorney general and the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office. Until the arrest, not even Parikh's supporters knew he had a fugitive warrant based on a 10-year-old outstanding deportation order. Police Chief George Mieczkowski and Edison Mayor Jun Choi said they were unaware of the plan to arrest him at the rally.

Last month, the mayor and police chief released a joint statement calling the arrest an "unfortunate incident," and blamed improper communication between an Edison officer and an ICE official. They declined to name either.

But three people with knowledge of the internal investigation said the connection between the agencies was the Edison officer whom Parikh accused of brutality, Michael Dotro, and his brother, ICE attorney Sam Dotro. The sources spoke on the condition they not be identified because they were ordered not to discuss the case.

Choi and Mieczkowski said the internal investigation determined that two Edison officers knew of the plan to arrest Parikh at the rally, but they had acted without informing their superiors.
"While the arrest of Parikh served a legitimate law enforcement purpose, the timing and the environment of the arrest was inappropriate," according to a joint statement released last month by Choi and Mieczkowski.

Parikh was arrested at the Aug. 2 rally specifically to discredit him and his complaints against Michael Dotro, the sources said. Before federal agents arrested him, Parikh and his supporters spent nearly a month calling for Michael Dotro's suspension.

Michael Dotro arrested Parikh, a 30-year-old liquor store clerk, July 4 on charges that Parikh hit the officer and incited others to join in the attack as Dotro tried to disperse hundreds watching an illegal fireworks display at a township apartment complex.

The next day, Parikh accused Dotro of roughing him up during the arrest, and circulated a picture of Parikh's bruised face. Parikh also accused Dotro of racism. Two Indians brought similar complaints against Dotro a year earlier, but an internal affairs review of that incident cleared the officer.

Responding to Parikh's complaints, Edison police launched an internal affairs review.
Just as Parikh went public with his complaints against Dotro, the officer contacted his brother at the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, sources said. The conversation ultimately led to an investigation by ICE and the Aug. 2 arrest, the sources said.

That afternoon, more than 100 people had gathered outside Edison town hall, the crowd split between Parikh supporters and police supporters. Minutes after he arrived, Parikh was confronted by two plainclothes ICE agents.

He was arrested on a decade-old deportation order on charges that he skipped a Texas immigration hearing. Parikh was taken inside police headquarters and held for two hours before agents drove him to the Middlesex County jail in North Brunswick.

Parikh's supporters immediately claimed the police colluded with ICE to silence Parikh. Choi and Mieczkowski denied knowledge of the planned arrest and any police involvement. The day after the arrest, an internal investigation cleared Michael Dotro of wrongdoing in the July 4 arrest.
ICE officials said the Aug. 2 arrest was prompted by a call from the Edison Police Department and resulted from "extensive cooperation" from the local department. The police chief denied any knowledge of those communications at the time.

In their statement last month, the police chief and mayor said the results of the Edison police investigation confirmed that an officer had contacted ICE about Parikh, but that the officer did not inform his superiors. At least one other department officer, they said, knew of the plan to arrest Parikh. Mieczkowski and Choi declined to name the officers. Mieczkowski said the department has since created a new policy for how officers handle requests for assistance from outside law enforcement agencies. The two officers involved were ordered to receive counseling, Mieczkowski said.

Michael Dotro, a patrolman with three years on the force who earns $60,000 a year, did not respond to multiple attempts to reach him for comment. Sam Dotro, who earns more than $87,000 a year as an ICE attorney, also declined to discuss the case through a woman who answered the door at his home.

Scott Weber, field director of the ICE Office of Detention and Removal in Newark, declined to comment about Sam Dotro's involvement or if the agency knew about Parikh's claims against Michael Dotro before making the arrest. "Information was received from the Edison Police Department regarding an alien who was wanted on an ICE fugitive warrant," ICE spokesman Michael Gilhooly said in a statement in response to questions about the timing of the arrest and Sam Dotro's role. "(We) acted on that information and arrested Rajnikant Parikh."

Parikh remains at the Hudson County jail in Kearny. In an interview last week, he said Michael Dotro's name came up a couple of times as he was being processed after his arrest at the rally, though he didn't see the officer that day.

Parikh's attorney, Ravi Bhalla, said the Dotro brothers' involvement in ICE's arrest of Parikh raised serious questions. "I find it very disturbing, to put it mildly," Bhalla said. "It certainly calls into question (Michael Dotro's) credibility as an officer."

The original charges against Parikh from the July arrest are pending. He also is fighting his deportation based on arguments that he applied for permanent residency in 2005 after he married Julie Patel, an Edison medical student who is an American citizen. "They could've arrested me when I applied for a green card." said Parikh. "They wanted me, they could've arrested me anyways, anywhere."

Saturday, July 07, 2007



The Bill of Rights applies to everyone, even illegal immigrants. So an immigrant, legal or illegal, prosecuted under the criminal code has the right to due process, a speedy and public trial, and other rights protected by the Fifth and Sixth Amendments. This fact sheet from the National Lawyers Guild outlines a host of rights afforded to immigrants and citizens alike. (There are a few rights reserved for citizens. Among them are the right to vote, the right to hold most federal jobs, and the right to run for political office.)

But immigration proceedings are matters of administrative law, not criminal law. (As a result, the consequence of violating your immigration status is not jail but deportation.) And Congress has nearly full authority to regulate immigration without interference from the courts. Because immigration is considered a matter of national security and foreign policy, the Supreme Court has long held that immigration law is largely immune from judicial review. Congress can make rules for immigrants that would be unacceptable if applied to citizens.

In 1952's Harisiades v. Shaughnessy, the Supreme Court upheld the right of Congress to expel noncitizens who were former Communists. "In recognizing this power and this responsibility of Congress, one does not in the remotest degree align oneself with fears unworthy of the American spirit or with hostility to the bracing air of the free spirit," Justice Felix Frankfurter wrote in his concurrence. "One merely recognizes that the place to resist unwise or cruel legislation touching aliens is the Congress, not this Court."

Still, immigrants facing deportation do have some rights. Most are entitled to a hearing before an immigration judge, representation by a lawyer (but not one that's paid for by the government), and interpretation for non-English-speakers. The government must provide "clear and convincing" evidence to deport someone (a lower standard than "beyond a reasonable doubt").

On the other hand, some immigrants who are suspected terrorists may not be allowed to confront the evidence against them. In 1996, Congress established the Alien Terrorist Removal Court, a secret tribunal that can examine classified evidence. (Interestingly, Congress mandated in the same law that an immigrant tried by the terrorist court would have the right to counsel at government expense.) But the Alien Terrorist Removal Court has never been used, and a Department of Justice spokesman said he isn't aware of any plans to use the terrorist court any time soon.

Friday, July 06, 2007


Edison must submit arrest files in Parikh disorderly-persons trial

Home News Tribune Online 02/14/07


South Amboy: Edison has to submit the complete files of its investigations of the July 4 and Aug. 2 incidents that led to the arrest of Rajnikant Parikh to his attorney under terms of a ruling Tuesday by South Amboy Municipal Court Joseph C. Hoffman.

Hoffman ordered that the files be turned over during a hearing on the disorderly persons charges against Parikh, charges that stem from the July 4 illegal fireworks display at Dayton Drive apartments. Hoffman ruled that Edison must give the available files to Ravinder Bhalla, attorney of Parikh, but denied Bhalla’s motion to gain access to the personal file of the patrolman Michael Dotro, the police officer involved in the arrest and subsequent charges of assault and police brutality. Hoffman also denied Bhalla access to the internal-investigation records of a 2005 charge against Dotro involving allegations of police brutality by two Indian business owners, Vimal Joshi and Atul Patel, in which Dotro was cleared last year.

Bhalla said he may request the records again later in the trial. Parikh is being held at the Middlesex County Adult Correction Center in North Brunswick, pending a deportation order that he is appealing. He was present during the hearing on the Edison charges Tuesday.

Dotro arrested Parikh, 30, during an unscheduled July 4 celebration on charges of aggravated assault on a police officer, resisting arrest, rioting and failure to disperse. The charges were later downgraded to disorderly charges by the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s office. The case is being heard in South Amboy.

Parikh filed a complaint against Dotro and other township police officers, saying he was beaten up without provocation.

Dotro reported slight swelling in his face and minor cuts on his arms after he subdued and handcuffed Parikh, who elbowed and punched the officer in the face, Dotro said. Dotro has given Bhalla a video showing his injuries.

“I am happy the judge granted access to the internal-investigation file,” said Bhalla. Hoffman made the ruling after 30-minute private conference outside the courtroom.

Bhalla asked Hoffman to dismiss the entire case based on published reports that Dotro’s brother, Sam Dotro, is an attorney for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and was involved in having Parikh arrested by ICE on Aug. 2 on an immigration charge. Hoffman denied that motion saying, “It’s premature and discovery is incomplete.” Hoffman gave the township 20 days time to produce the documents and said he would set a hearing date sometime after that.

“I will need sometime to go through the records,” Bhalla said. “It’s a political prosecution. My client is innocent.”

Ritu Jha: (732) 565-7277

Thursday, July 05, 2007



Middlesex County



EDISON — The Police Benevolent Association will ask a higher court to stop the release of police internal investigation files to the defense attorney for Rajnikant Parikh after being denied a similar request in municipal court in South Amboy last week.

"We disagree with the judge's statement," PBA President Michael Schwarz said about the decision by South Amboy Judge Joseph C. Hoffman ordering the release of the files. Schwarz said the internal investigation files should not be released because they are confidential.

On Feb 13 Hoffman asked Edison to submit the complete file of its investigations of the July 4 and Aug. 2 incidents that led to the arrest of Parikh on various charges, including resisting arrest and rioting. Hoffman ordered the files be given to Parikh's attorney under the terms of the ruling.

Last week, the PBA asked Hoffman to reconsider his decision.

"PBA wants me to reconsider my decision for production of the discovery (of the files)," Hoffman said. Hoffman said he denied the motion to reconsider the decision because the PBA has no standing in the case.

The PBA, which had not been formally involved in Parikh's case, is now intervening, according to a letter Hoffman said he has received from the PBA.

The PBA now plans to appeal Hoffman's decision to Superior Court.

Parikh is being held at the Middlesex County Adult Correction Center in North Brunswick, pending a deportation order. He was arrested by patrolman Michael Dotro during an unscheduled July 4 celebration on charges of aggravated assault on a police officer, resisting arrest, rioting and failure to disperse. The charges were later downgraded to disorderly charges by the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007


Middlesex County

Superior Court may get Parikh case

Home News Tribune Online 03/3/07


EDISON — The Rajnikant Parikh case appears to be headed back to Superior Court.
The Edison PBA has filed an appeal to block a ruling by South Amboy Municipal Court Judge Joseph C. Hoffman that would turn over internal-investigation files to Parikh's attorneys. Parikh's attorney, Paul Brickfield, plans to oppose the motion.

At issue are the files that came out of Edison's probe into the arrest of Parikh following an illegal fireworks demonstration last July 4. Parikh and police traded charges of assault. The case was heard as a disorderly persons offense last month in South Amboy.

After Hoffman ruled that Parikh's attorneys had a right to see the internal investigation documents, the Edison PBA appealed to Hoffman to change the ruling. Hoffman said he dismissed that appeal made by the PBA attorney Thomas C. Sciarrabone because the PBA has no standing in the case.

The PBA then filed the appeal in Superior Court.

Brickfield said he will file papers opposing the appeal by Wednesday. Brickfield said a Superior Court hearing is not yet scheduled, but most probably will be held the week of March 12.
"Superior Court Judge Robert Longhi wants to see the transcript made by South Amboy Judge," Brickfield said. After that, Longhi will schedule a hearing.

Parikh is being held at the Middlesex County Adult Correction Center in North Brunswick, pending a deportation order. He was arrested by Ptl. Michael Dotro during the July 4 fireworks on charges of aggravated assault on a police officer, resisting arrest, rioting and failure to disperse. The charges were later downgraded to disorderly charges by the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office.

Hoffman told Edison to submit the two internal investigation files to the Parikh's attorneys by Tuesday. Brickfield said he expects to receive the file next week. "But will hold the investigation files and won't disclose it until Judge Longhi decides on the motion," he said.

"We disagree with the judge's statement," PBA President Michael Schwarz said about the decision by Hoffman ordering the release of the files. Schwarz said the internal investigation files should not be released because they are confidential.

However, Township Mayor Jun H. Choi said he will abide by Judge Hoffman's ruling. "We will submit the files on time," Choi said last Tuesday.