Police on Snooki Duty Face Regular Criticism from Bystanders
Update: JCPD internal affairs has since exonerated the officers involved in the Tuesday incident outside Synergy Fitness.
Earlier this month, on the eve of US Weekly‘s announcement Snooki was pregnant and engaged, Jersey City saw its largest influx of paparazzi.
Nearly 20 photographers were caught up in a obstacle course of passing pedestrians and interested bystanders who wound through the Jersey Shore stars’ loose perimeter of security guards and production crew as they navigated a two block stretch of downtown, between Snooki, inside K9dergarten and JWoww, parked two blocks away on Jersey Ave.
Police and photographers still best learning how to engage one another that day decried the other’s overzealousness, but no skirmish appeared to warrant an official complaint until, one week later, a police report was filed.
As the Jersey Journal first reported, one local resident took such action after a production member, arms outspread, made contact with the man while ushering him to safety, warning he was “about to get run over by paparazzi.”
It was just one of three times that day no good deed would go unpunished.
Earlier, as Snooki and JWoww walked through the pet store’s front door, another curious bystander reached for his camera as his unzipped backpack spilled onto the pavement his papers and passport. A security guard noticing this, collected the man’s possessions, handed them over and warned him about his open bag.
Within seconds, the man announced he was being intimidated.
The security guard, telling the aggrieved man he was the first to acknowledge when his team steps out of line, turned to the nearby paparazzi and asked them what they saw. Those photographers, even faster at calling out overreaching security when they witness it, backed up the guard’s version of what had occurred. Yet for the next 15 minutes, well after the Jersey Shore stars were hidden inside K9dergarten, the man continued to argue his point, finally making his case to police.
These are the easiest grievances police and private security have had to handle on a daily basis since filming began.
The worst sort are what JCPD Public Information Officer Lt. Edgar Martinez this week acknowledged is the subject of an ongoing internal affairs investigation.
Later Tuesday evening, after the paparazzi left to upload their photos and Snooki and JWoww cruised home unbothered, Snooki walked back to Newark Avenue to work out at Synergy Fitness. The gym remained open while, in the back wall mirror’s reflection, her pink hat bobbed up and down from the elliptical, but security stood its ground outside, to ensure only fellow Synergy members made it past the front door.
Only one man – dressed in a heavy black leather coat and sagging jeans, and with no gym clothes in tow – took issue with being turned away. Then he went on to prove why security had found him so suspicious.
After the police officers on duty outside reaffirmed security’s right to turn him away, the man took out his cameraphone and recorded the officers’ names, faces and badges for the next two hours.
And for two hours, the man paced the sidewalk between Synergy and LITM, ignoring every new warning about harassment and loitering, as he alternated from re-approaching the police officers to stopping passersby to plead his case, to halting exiting exercisers about their own experiences entering the gym. After briefly stopping two girls and following them for a block, he returned to the police one more time. Again he stood before them to film their names, faces and badges, then for a final time retreated westward, one storefront at a time, before disappearing down Newark Ave. untouched.
While the man was filming his own reality show, the police kept their cool and only Snooki broke a sweat.
But two days later, on March 8th, the same man approached police and security outside Kanibal Home on Montgomery Street while Snooki and JWoww were being filmed inside the store.
Again less interested in glimpsing the girls than capturing the attention of their protection, he approached the police armed with his phone and filmed them as he spoke. And within moments these officers did what they would later describe as taking action to protect their personal space, pushing back the man – again loitering within arm’s reach – until he turned down the block and walked away.
The girls eventually exited empty-handed, but would come and go again leaving with what they needed to advance the plot of their reality show – shopping bags full of black and pink throw pillows, looking as satisfied as the man on the street who found what he wanted on the sidewalk – a provocation.
Photos by Adam Robb