Aberdeen Police Officer charged for tampering with evidence, drug test
An Aberdeen Police Officer has found himself in trouble with the law after allegedly committing a pair of tampering offenses.
Philip M. Santiago, 34, of Keyport turned himself in to authorities on Tuesday to face charges for tampering with evidence following an arrest in May and prior to that a drug test he was ordered to take in January, acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Lori Linskey announced in a statement.
Santiago faces two counts of second degree official misconduct and fourth degree tampering with physical evidence.
The investigation into his alleged behavior begins in January when the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office’s Professional Responsibility and Bias Crime Unit learned that he intentionally tampered with a law enforcement drug test he had been ordered to take, which made it unable to get processed.
The MCPO Professional Responsibility and Bias Crime Unit then learned in May that Santiago, while on duty, allegedly deleted a video from a cell phone belonging to a suspect who had just been arrested by Aberdeen Police and was in custody at the time.
Acting Prosecutor Linksey said that the video depicted the interaction between the suspect and the officers, which lead to the arrest.
The now suspended 3-year veteran of the Aberdeen Police Department, who served as an emergency dispatcher in the township prior to that, faces 5-10 years in prison if convicted on the charge of official misconduct with a minimum of five full years to be served before the possibility of parole.
Santiago is currently awaiting a first appearance in Monmouth County Superior Court.
He is being represented by Tracy Riley, Esq., who has an office in Marlton.
The case is assigned to Assistant Prosecutor Melanie Falco, Director of the Office’s Professional Responsibility and Bias Crimes Unit.
“The charges being announced today go beyond the mere breaking of laws – they constitute clear and repeated violations of the solemn oath this officer swore to uphold the interests of justice and serve the public good,” Acting Prosecutor Linskey said in a statement. “Such conduct is patently and unequivocally unacceptable among our ranks in law enforcement, and does not represent the majority who serve with honor and integrity.”