Fort Lee Cop Assaulted at Gas Station as Tempers Flare over Long Lines

The incident occurred at the Sunoco station on Bergen Boulevard early Friday morning, where the New York man allegedly struck an officer and tried to push him out of the way in an attempt to get gas, police said.

A New York man allegedly assaulted a Fort Lee police officer at a gas station on Bergen Boulevard early Friday morning, becoming "enraged" after learning the station might be out of gas by the time he made it to the front of the line.

Christian Cruz-Bello, 23, of East Elmhurst, NY had been waiting in line in his car at the Sunoco station on Route 1 North in Fort Lee at about 5:30 a.m. Friday. When he reached the front of the line, police told him to wait before pulling in because the station might be out of gas, police said.

Cruz-Bello allegedly ignored that order and pulled into the station anyway, but officers were able to stop him before he reached the gas pumps. Police said Cruz-Bello “became enraged,” got out of his car with a gas can and started walking to the pumps instead.

Police said Cruz-Bello’s car was in a “hazardous position,” preventing other vehicles from getting into or out of the station safely, so officers called for a tow truck.

Cruz-Bello then returned to his car but was told by police it was being towed, police said.

It was then that police allege Cruz-Bello struck Det. Nick Orta of the Fort Lee Police Department and tried to push him out of the way and get back into his car.

Orta told Cruz-Bello he was under arrest for assault and tried to handcuff him, but Cruz-Bello allegedly resisted and had to be restrained by three police officers, police said.

Cruz-Bello was charged with aggravated assault on a police officer and resisting arrest, according to police.

Bail was set at $1,500, and Cruz-Bello was sent to the Bergen County Jail.

The incident occurred just a day after Fort Lee Police Chief Thomas O. Ripoli urged people to have patience at the few gas stations that are open and cooperate with the police officers patrolling them.

Steve Goldstein November 02, 2012 at 05:34 PM
Let's hope the book is thrown at this sociopath.
Boris Nisenbaum November 02, 2012 at 05:40 PM
The police is out of control. They intentionally claim that the gas station has no gas just to make the motorist move on when they allege he is blocking the traffic. Never mind that he might have been standing in line for hours and never mind that the next car after him might be allowed to pull in. Clear case of the selective punishment! I was subject to the same police behavior yesterday at the Gulf station on Anderson Ave. I did not assault the office, of course, but I had some heated discussions on this subject with him. Interestingly, they seem to change the patter of the access to that gas station after I pointed to the police's unlawful behavior.
Jane November 02, 2012 at 06:42 PM
It is a matter of public safety, Boris, stations are very limited on gas. Don't you understand that? If you're told to leave or not pull in, follow the order. Honestly, we're all in this awful situation and you're going to make it worse by arguing with people who have to deal with this crap all day. The police officers are not out there having fun by picking and choosing who gets gas! It's to keep the road clear for ambulances and fire fighters. Honestly. Fighting with a police officer because you can't get gas?? There are people out there with real problems, damaged homes, no heat, people who have lost everything. And then there are the entitled people who think they should just be able to do what they want when they want, with no respect for the situation. It's a federal disaster area. Chill out.
Howard L. Pearl November 02, 2012 at 06:53 PM
To Suzanne: Please seek help immediately. Urgent. They have treatments for anti-cop syndrome. To Boris: This is a crisis. The police have been working 24-7 to do everything they can to control a very difficult situation. And then people like you come along to criticize them. In life people are either part of the problem or part of the solution. You, Boris, are clearly part of the problem.
DKS November 02, 2012 at 07:27 PM
Fully agree with Suzanne -- this was a complete overreaction by the cops. Calling a tow truck and acting like power-tripping thugs just inflames a situation like this. Seems the first thing they teach you at cop school is how to be an a*hole and this is especially true of some of Fort Lee's "finest" with their bully mentalities. Someone who has been waiting in line that long is obviously going to be frustrated. Show a little sensitivity to the situation next time, I guarantee it will end better.
Fort Lee Truth November 02, 2012 at 07:34 PM
For whatever it's worth, all of these issues I'm seeing with people cutting in line, behaving like buffoons, etc, are New Yorkers.
Christopher Vagnone November 02, 2012 at 07:45 PM
Police are out of control? Try doing what you're told and perhaps these people wouldn't get in trouble?
Jane November 02, 2012 at 07:51 PM
Shame on some of you! Those are the same police officers that are putting their lives at risk, working 16 hour days keeping your streets safe during this storm!
Victor Perez November 02, 2012 at 08:52 PM
I think this situation could have been handled better on both sides. Had the pedestrian not ignored the police officer, this issue would not have escalated to the point it did. I think the officer should not have towed the pedestrians car but at that point I'm sure was looking to make an example of him. Overall, the pedestrian was in the wrong.
karen November 02, 2012 at 10:16 PM
Ft lrr police should get over themselves. They are the first to get what they need for themselves and their fsmilies. Get a hard job.
cliff ginsburg November 02, 2012 at 11:03 PM
cliff ginsburg 6:45 pm on Friday, November 2, 2012 Karen .. The next time and hope it never happens you are robbed or someone is trying to break nto your house while you are asleep don't call a cop. Call someone that has a hard job to help you. Remember this ...people run from danger. Cops (even though they don't work hard) run into the middle of it. Sleep tight knowing someone is watching your back!!!!!
Steve Goldstein November 02, 2012 at 11:12 PM
This thread illuminates one major problem in this country-- a substantial sub-group of people who feel completely entitled to back-talk, defy, and strike police officers on issues of basic public safety.
Steve Goldstein November 02, 2012 at 11:15 PM
Further, perhaps some people might want to make a little wager on whether this is this guy's first brush with the law or involvement in anti-social behavior.
SC November 02, 2012 at 11:16 PM
If any of you naysayers were in a dire situation, I'm sure you'd be singing a different tune. Certainly you would welcome police presence with welcome arms then. It is imperative to follow instructions in a time of chaos such as this. Policemen and firemen throughout the state have been putting their lives on the line all week long, often working more than 24 hours at a stretch. Please be grateful of their presence, not combative.
Secret November 02, 2012 at 11:53 PM
You're right! A bunch of empowered sub-average intelligence cops! Nothing new:(...
Andrew November 03, 2012 at 02:52 AM
Totally agree. I'm a resident. I can say that Fort Lee officers, for the most part, are very power-hungry. Moreover, they're overpaid. They have no patience with civilians. They really don't do their jobs to the best of their abilities. This situation only augmented their irresponsibility.
B. B. November 03, 2012 at 04:09 AM
I suggest everyone bashing the police officers shut up. Our local officers, firefighters and emergency medical crew have done an amazing job keeping our town organized during this chaotic time. Some have gone days without sleep or shower, not to mention the time spent helping citizens they have had to spend away from their families. Shame on you all for defending an irate individual lacking respect for not only the officers, but for his fellow citizens also waiting in line.
micky taylor November 03, 2012 at 08:22 AM
I am a fort lee resident for 50 years and most of the fort lee police force are descent and compassionate. In the entire time I received 2 traffic tickets...they were both issued by this particular officer. I have the utmost respect for any police officer however, this particular officer abuses his power...when I saw the officers name, I wasn't surprised...I am sure had it been another officer the situation would have been handled different and without incident...
Mike November 03, 2012 at 11:11 AM
zzzzzzzzzzz, puttin me to sleep with all this crap. Look the guy got pissed off cause they might have ran out of fuel after he waited on line for who knows how long. He got out of his vehicle and was pissed off. He was a jerk and that's that. The officer was doing his job on what ever he was directed to do at that time. Yup some officers in our town are jerks also, but hey no one is perfect.
d.m. November 03, 2012 at 12:41 PM
Howard your insane. Suzanne and wean are exactly right. Cops are Power hungry dopes who had their best years in high school
Howard L. Pearl November 03, 2012 at 01:47 PM
Another anonymous blogger, D.M. with apparent brain damage. How quaint, using ancient stereotypes of jocks who become cops, with their best years in high school. Individuals like you clearly lack the courage to use your own name and you criticize dedicated public servants who have been working day and night to keep the peace in the midst of the chaos.
SC November 03, 2012 at 05:52 PM
So refuse help if you ever need it, because clearly someone with such an esteemed vocabulary wouldn't want assistance from the type of law enforcement you speak of. I, on the other hand, would welcome assistance from these everyday heroes who have to put up with being away from their families for days on end, with little rest, to protect YOU. Some thanks. And as for telling people to "die in a cliff", don't you think that is ill -timed and a bit dramatic for the conversation.
Steve Goldstein November 03, 2012 at 06:20 PM
Police officers are the precious thin blue line between order and chaos in the NY metro area, particularly in the sort of circumstances we now experience. Cop-hating scumbags whose biggest wish is to be able to do whatever they want at their sociopathic whim are a dime a dozen.
samantha November 03, 2012 at 06:39 PM
Karen, just out of curiosity... what do you do??? What do you consider a hard job? I would like to see you do what the police officers do!
Lilian Vasquez November 03, 2012 at 07:15 PM
Absolubtly overreaction...this man is being probably waiting for hours and all he gets it's been thrown in jell. I am up for respecting the police though.
Lilian Vasquez November 03, 2012 at 07:17 PM
good to know.
William Mays November 03, 2012 at 07:31 PM
Obviously, the guy shouldn't have assaulted the cop. However, a lot of cops in this town act like complete assholes, and people with a bad temper can do something stupid, like punching a cop. They are way overpaid for what they do, and they tend to forget where their salaries come from. I have much more respect for cops in NYC that get paid 40k and actually have to risk their lives.
Rakhee Roy January 04, 2013 at 02:37 AM
Well all I can say is people even cops need to heal in their personal lives even if it means leaving your job, because if you get all this shit at work, then it's time to question the way things are in your life to move on to the new and better thing nurture thyself as you heal and realize your truth as you discover God in your body from natural healing then things change dramatically and things work out for good and better of yourself and others....sorry the cop got assaulted heal people heal its the only way and God the true God is your owner who can and will change your work life.... among everything else....God Bless the people who were a part of this....
Rakhee Roy January 04, 2013 at 02:44 AM
Ok where do these power and control issues come from? People that work for the police station that believe their over the power of God because they discovered all this amazing stuff in training and whatever else....but to be there for people the officers must first be their for themselves natural detox works because it removes issues that make all kinds of people act the way that cops acted the cops could remember they are not God God is God and the relief from their own lives they are looking is perfectly available to them if they simply do it, but if they continue the way the are it's just going to get more out of control cruelty, bad behavior comes from not releasing correctly and taking time to heal 24/7 which includes stop working for a while would make anyone better at their job.....
Rakhee Roy January 04, 2013 at 02:51 AM
best thing to say is Psalm 24


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