Councilman Michael Jackson received five summonses, including for driving while suspended, in late January, according to Passaic County Sheriff’s Office documents. He dared sheriff’s officers to ticket him when one of them questioned his driving.
Jackson, who is running for mayor, was driving on Grand Street on Jan. 29, 2018 at about 6:45 a.m. At the intersection of Hamilton Street, four sheriff’s officers were crossing the roadway from the Grand Street parking lot using a marked crosswalk towards the Memorial Day Nursery School, according to the sheriff’s report.
Jackson waited for them to clear the front of his vehicle. Before the officers could walk to the sidewalk, Jackson proceeded to drive. When officer Ferdinand Fernandez looked at Jackson’s Ford Expedition, the councilman rolled down his window.
“You have to stop for pedestrians in the crosswalk,” Fernandez told Jackson.
“What are you talking about I did wait,” remarked Jackson.
“You have to wait for the pedestrians to get to the other side, otherwise it is a $200 ticket with 2 points,” replied Fernandez.
Jackson began to shout at the officers, according to the report.
Jackson provided a different narrative of the incident on Wednesday afternoon. He said he allowed the officers to cross the street, but Fernandez turned to approach his vehicle.
“He came at my vehicle cursing obscenities. He was yelling at me — cursing at me. I rolled down my window,” said Jackson. “He starts cursing at me, ‘Shut the f— up. You stop when we’re in the crosswalk.’”
Jackson replied, “I let you cross. What you want?”
“Get the f— out of here before I tow your vehicle,” Fernandez is alleged to have said in Jackson’s recollection of the incident.
Jackson said his narrative will be backed up by video footage of the incident. He said he has requested videos of the incident and has filed an internal affairs complaint against the officer.
“Who do you think you are talking to, you can’t talk to people from Paterson that way,” Jackson told the officers.
The officers continued walking towards the Passaic County Administration Building as Jackson continued to shout from his 2017 black Ford Expedition EL bearing a temporary plate, according to the report. “Who do you think you are talking to?” he repeated.
Jackson, who represents the 1st Ward, delayed traffic and prevented cars behind him from passing, according to the report. Two cars honked and drove around Jackson’s vehicle. He continued to shout at the officers: “I will call your chief [William] McCrary.”
Jackson asked the officer for his name. Fernandez provided his last name and badge number. He then began daring the officer to issue a ticket. “Give me a ticket. Why can’t you give it to me now.”
The report says Jackson improperly parked his vehicle on the roadway to exit his car to shout and yell at the officers without turning off his car. Jackson then entered his vehicle and drove away. Officer Bashkim Seji recognized Jackson from a previous encounter.
Fernandez later ran the plate through dispatch and found Jackson’s license was suspended.
Five summonses were issued for failure to stop for pedestrians in a marked crosswalk, delaying traffic, parking unattended car on a roadway, unattended vehicle with motor running, and driving while suspended, according to the report.
Jackson said he was unaware of the tickets until a warrant was issued for his arrest. He plans to challenge four of the five tickets, he said. He admitted he could not challenge the driving while suspended violation.
“I didn’t realize my license was suspended,” said Jackson. He said he paid his surcharge and presumed his license was restored.
The councilman has been ticketed in the past for driving while suspended. In early July of 2017, Jackson was ticketed for driving with a suspended license in a vehicle with lapsed registration. His driver’s license was suspended 32 times, according to the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission.
When asked if his license was still suspended, Jackson replied: “My license has been restored.”
Jackson’s license remains suspended as of Wednesday afternoon, according to the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission. When told, his license remains suspended, he said, “I’m checking now.”
The councilman said most of the suspensions were due to non-appearance for parking tickets and non-payment of surcharges. He defended his driving record by stating the suspensions were not the result of moving violations. 12 of the 32 suspensions were for non-payment of surcharge, according to the state. He used his business address with motor vehicle which resulted in him not receiving the notices, he said.
Jackson said some of the suspension go back years. He began driving at age 17, he said.