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Atlantic County prosecutor resigns amid new allegations

Atlantic County Prosecutor Damon Tyner has resigned.
The announcement comes days after the attorney for three former employees suing Tyner wrote a letter alleging that the Attorney General’s Office has been pushing for Tyner to resign, but he had refused.
“Thus, it is unlikely that Tyner will be reappointed as Prosecutor in March 2022, and has been on a public relations campaign to rehabilitate himself in order to secure future employment,” attorneys Michelle Douglas and Philip Burnham II wrote in the letter sent to an organization that is set to honor Tyner as Prosecutor of the Year in September.
The letter also raised a new allegation involving Tyner using his county vehicle in a private meeting at a bar.
BreakingAC reached out to Tyner and his attorneys last week about several of the allegations in the letter, but received no response.
No reason was given in a press release announcing his resignation. First Assistant Prosecutor Cary Shill will serve as acting prosecutor.
Tyner has been the subject of at least two investigations by the Attorney General’s Office, with allegations including misuse of funds and failure to recuse himself in a case being upheld.
The office also confirmed a story by BreakingAC that found Tyner lied when he told a group at an Atlantic City rally that he had seen old homicide investigation files involving Black victims with the letters NIM on them. He said he was told that stood for “Non-Important Murder.”
But the office had no such files, BreakingAC later learned.
Tyner also was found to have violated the county‘s nepotism policy when he fired to investigators and hired his brother, retired Atlantic City Police Detective Michael Graham.
When BreakingAC had previously asked the county about that move, a spokeswoman said Tyner’s office was one of those not held to their rules.
The allegations have continued.
Then, last week Tyner’s office announced he would be named Prosecutor of the Year by New Jersey Narcotics Enforcement Officers Association who Tyner said was “recognizing me and the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office for our effort to make our community safer and healthier.”
The lawyers for former acting Prosecutor Diane Ruberton, former Assistant Prosecutor Donna Fetzer and retired Lt. Heather McManus to notify the group.
“We are not alone in our concerns about the unethical and breach of integrity by Prosecutor Tyner,” the lawyers wrote in the letter. “There are a number of other people who have also filed charges against Prosecutor Tyner.”
That includes the victim in a case that Tyner publicly said he recused himself from, but was proven to have been forced to give up.
Anthony Hargrove is accused of failing to disclose his HIV status to at least two men before having unprotected sex with them, infecting at least one.
Hargrove’s father, a bishop of Cathedral Grace Family Church and a police chaplain, is a friend and public supporter of Tyner’s.
While Tyner’s office insisted he notified the Attorney General’s Office of a conflict, it was actually the victim who pushed for the case to be moved out of Atlantic County, an investigation found.
That victim recently made a new allegation against Tyner, saying that the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office kept police from filing a restraining order violation because he was the victim.
He also said the office has continued to target him, even making false allegations against him.
Others have filed complaints, including one involving Dr. James Kauffman, who reportedly committed suicide while awaiting trial in the killing of his wife, April Kauffman.
The doctor had remarried. His widow, Carole Weintraub, claims it was Tyner who released her husband’s suicide note to “20/20” for a special on the case.
The Attorney General’s Office of Public Integrity and Accountability investigation was sparked by the former employees who made the allegations in 2019, months after filing a civil lawsuit claiming Tyner created a culture of sexism and fear since taking over as Atlantic County’s prosecutor.
The allegations against Tyner aren’t just as prosecutor.
A claim by Dr. Nina Radcliff begins when Tyner was a judge, and has been forwarded to the Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct.
Tyner remained involved in an investigation into Dr. Kris Radcliff, who appeared before then-Judge Tyner in a domestic violence case in which his former wife was the victim.
Tyner then failed to recuse himself while his office investigated Radcliff for allegedly wire-tapping his ex-wife’s work laptop.

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