Assault charge dismissed after Morristown council member apologizes

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A municipal judge dismissed a simple assault charge against Morristown Council Vice President Hiliari Davis after she apologized on Monday to the woman who accused the official of shoving her during a parking lot altercation.

“I asked for an apology,” the alleged victim, 29-year-old Anne Cuttitta of Jefferson, told Hanover Municipal Judge Brian O’Toole.

“And did you get one?” the judge asked her.

“I did,” answered Cuttitta, who said she was satisfied and did not object to dismissing the  complaint against Davis, which involved a Nov. 9, 2018, incident captured on a security video outside the Cedar Knolls Walmart.

Hiliari Davis, center, is sworn into her second term as Morristown Council Vice President, Jan. 8, 2019, by town Clerk Margot Kaye and Mayor Tim Dougherty. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Hiliari Davis, center, is sworn into her second term as Morristown Council Vice President, Jan. 8, 2019, by town Clerk Margot Kaye and Mayor Tim Dougherty. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

“I am grateful that the process worked and the charges were dismissed. The allegations did not reflect who I am as a person and I’m thankful that truth prevailed,” Davis, 42, said later via text message.

Davis conferred with her lawyer, John Paul Velez, and apologized to Cuttitta outside the Hanover courtroom. The councilwoman left before they asked the judge to dismiss the charge.

“However, there was an explanation that was given to Miss Cuttitta as to what was going on. And that is part of the reason for this, Judge. There was obviously a version of events that were not recorded,” Velez told O’Toole.

The judge did not ask for details, and Cuttitta and Davis declined to comment afterwards about Davis’ explanation. Velez also declined to comment, saying he intended to have the dismissed complaint expunged from the public record.

Simple assault is a disorderly persons offense that can bring penalties of six months in jail and maximum fines of $1,000.

According to the report filed by Hanover Police Officer Joshua Williams, the women gave these accounts of what happened:

Cuttitta said Davis tailgated her in front of the store on a rainy afternoon and repeatedly blared her horn when she slowed for pedestrians. When Cuttitta responded with an obscene gesture, Davis followed her, and boxed in her parked vehicle with her SUV. Both women exited their vehicles, and Davis shoved Cuttitta against a parked car, causing her to scrape her hand on the ground.

Davis told the officer she was waiting for another parking space to open up, not intentionally blocking Cuttitta’s car. She claimed the woman approached her SUV and uttered a racial slur that made her child cry.

“Hiliari stated that she felt that she needed to protect her child and vehicle so she got out of her vehicle and pushed the woman down,” the police report states.

Security video of Walmart incident Nov. 9, 2018:

Officer Williams reported that Davis informed him she works for Morristown and “she knew a lot of Morristown Police Officers.” 

He charged her based on her statements during their phone interview, and because a Walmart security video showed “she chose to park her vehicle behind Anne’s to escalate the confrontation,” the officer said.

The police report logged Davis’ name as Hiliari Davis-Mason.

“It was a mix-up,” Davis told Morristown Green, “the result of me and my old boyfriend sharing car insurance for a period of time.”

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6 COMMENTS

  1. “Davis shoved Cuttitta against a parked car, causing her to scrape her hand on the ground.” “Officer Williams reported that Davis informed him she works for Morristown and “she knew a lot of Morristown Police Officers.”
    This is appropriate behavior by an elected official Margaret?

  2. JT seems to love jumping to conclusions. The pattern of cars pulling over to permit cars to back out of spaces that they can enter when they leave appears quite typical of many local parking lots. Most of us would be shocked and surprised to be ticketed and not always calm and rational under the strain, especially when a child is present. If the so-called victim, the officer and the judge were willing to let it go, why can’t JT?

  3. Hopefully someone is looking further at the insurance fraud, which I believe is a felony offense? I will steer clear of her in the future for sure.

  4. Perhaps she should step down immediately. The fact that the victim accepted the apology, does not excuse an assault, nor does it mitigate her obvious attempt to use her position to intimidate the officers.

  5. Shame on the judge for dismissing this. The council woman obviously tried to use her elected position to get her out of the charges. It is blatantly obvious she blocked the other vehicle in! She also admitted to pushing the woman to the ground. How exactly are you protecting your child by blocking the other vehicle, escalating the situation and assaulting the other driver? Great example to set for your child council woman. Hopefully the Morristown residents will do the right thing and not re-elect this bully. The excuse of a racial slur being used to justify someone’s negative actions is getting old.

  6. That parking lot is an absolute nightmare. There are not enough spaces for how busy it is, meaning there are so many cars sitting and waiting for spots to open up on already an awkward, tight area. I’m surprised there are not 10 incidents a day whether it be fights over spots, fender benders, or pedestrians getting bumped.

    It’s a zombie complex except for the Wal-Mart, they really need to reconfigure it ASAP.

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