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NJ police officer charged after alleged assault of hospital patient

A New Jersey police officer is out on bond after accusations of conspiring to cover up the assault of a hospital pati...

Posted: Jun 1, 2018 5:07 PM
Updated: Jun 1, 2018 5:07 PM

A New Jersey police officer is out on bond after accusations of conspiring to cover up the assault of a hospital patient, a spokesman for the US Attorney's Office in New Jersey said Thursday.

Roger Then, 29, a City of Paterson police officer, was charged Wednesday with conspiring to violate an individual's civil rights and with misprision of felony for concealing that civil rights violation, the US attorney's office said.

Then made an initial court appearance Wednesday and was released on $150,000 bond, said Will Skaggs, a spokesman for the US Attorney's Office.

The incident happened March 5 when a Paterson resident, referred to in court documents only as "the victim," called for help following a suicide attempt.

Then and a fellow officer, called simply "Officer 1" in court documents, were dispatched to the victim's address, where the Paterson Fire Department was already treating him, and had identified him as an "emotionally disturbed person," according to court documents. The man was taken to St. Joseph's Medical Center, where the officers met up with the patient.

In their police report, Then and the other officer said the man "became combative and began (to) throw medical glove boxes at the staff." The report, which CNN could not obtain independently, but is characterized in the complaint, says they and hospital staff restrained the victim, who was taken to a bed for a psychiatric evaluation.

In two video recordings described in the criminal complaint, however -- one from hospital surveillance cameras, and one taken by Officer Then -- prosecutors say that Then and the other officer punched, struck, and pushed the victim to the ground.

Prosecutors say the officers' report omitted the alleged assault.

Initial calls to Then's attorney, a public defender, were not immediately returned. Officials have not released the name of the other officer mentioned in the complaint.

Two videos

The surveillance video shows events in the emergency room waiting area. It shows the victim in a wheelchair apparently throwing an object down the hallway while Officer 1 was standing by the admissions desk, according to the complaint.

"Police Officer 1 appeared to be angry, ran towards the victim, and cocked his right arm as though he was going to punch the victim," the complaint says.

The officer then pushed the wheelchair with his hands, according to the court document, and proceeded to "punch the victim in the victim's face." As the victim was still in the wheelchair and falling towards the ground, Officer Then grabbed him by the back of his neck and pushed him to the ground, the complaint says.

The second video was allegedly taken by Then on his cell phone and shows events inside the patient's room, as the victim lies on a hospital bed and speaks to Officer 1.

Officer Then appears to turn the camera toward himself and has "a large smile across his face," the complaint says. He turns the camera back to the patient, who calls Officer 1 an expletive, to which the officer responds, "I'm a what?" according to the complaint.

"The victim said, 'Do it.' Police Officer 1 put on a pair of hospital gloves and proceeded to violently strike the victim twice across the face," the complaint says, adding that the victim covered his face with his hands and was silent.

Because of the officers' actions, the patient suffered multiple injuries to his face, including an eye injury that required surgery, the court document says.

Police report

The officers' police report notes that medical staff advised them the victim "has a history of psychiatric issues."

But the report did not include any mention of physical altercations with the victim, the US Attorney's Office said, and the officers concealed the video recorded on Then's cell phone from law enforcement authorities, the complaint said.

Federal agents arrested Then on Wednesday, the US Attorney's Office said.

The count of conspiracy to violate civil rights carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. The misprision of felony count carries a maximum potential penalty of three years in prison. Both counts are also punishable by a fine of up to $250,000.

The criminal complaint made no mention of any charges against Officer 1, and the US Attorney's Office will not comment beyond the contents of the complaint. The complaint said only that as of April, Officer 1 was no longer on active duty with the Paterson Police Department.

Paterson Police Department Director Jerry Speziale declined to comment on Officer 1, citing an ongoing investigation initiated by the Paterson Police Department.

The police department is working in conjunction with the FBI and the county prosecutor's office, he said, adding that Then's actions are not "indicative of the other 418 members of Paterson's finest that serve with professionalism, respect and integrity."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 333180

Reported Deaths: 7502
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto22901279
Hinds22780438
Harrison19569326
Rankin14851287
Jackson14342251
Madison10692227
Lee10437179
Jones8746169
Forrest8210157
Lauderdale7561243
Lowndes6790150
Lamar669688
Lafayette6459124
Washington5516139
Pearl River4915149
Bolivar4909134
Oktibbeha478498
Panola4723112
Marshall4654106
Warren4640127
Pontotoc440473
Monroe4255137
Union425379
Neshoba4182180
Lincoln4098115
Hancock405088
Leflore3565125
Pike3530112
Tate349588
Alcorn343974
Sunflower343093
Adams333387
Scott331775
Yazoo331173
Simpson314890
Copiah313867
Itawamba310180
Coahoma308785
Tippah298868
Prentiss292963
Covington282483
Marion279580
Leake278475
Wayne270743
Grenada266388
George261651
Newton256664
Tishomingo236869
Winston235584
Jasper226148
Attala220873
Chickasaw216360
Stone210237
Holmes195674
Clay192254
Clarke182080
Tallahatchie181742
Calhoun177532
Smith175935
Yalobusha169440
Walthall141548
Lawrence137726
Greene135734
Amite132843
Noxubee131635
Perry131038
Montgomery130944
Carroll124531
Webster117532
Jefferson Davis113334
Tunica111127
Benton104625
Claiborne104331
Kemper100729
Humphreys99133
Franklin85923
Quitman83519
Choctaw81319
Wilkinson74632
Jefferson69728
Sharkey51518
Issaquena1696
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 570667

Reported Deaths: 11483
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson834821584
Mobile45819855
Madison36785532
Tuscaloosa26757465
Shelby26612255
Montgomery25739624
Baldwin23810325
Lee16801181
Calhoun15130332
Morgan14941289
Etowah14662368
Marshall12806235
Houston11515292
Elmore10654217
St. Clair10521251
Limestone10472158
Cullman10257204
Lauderdale9991253
DeKalb9298191
Talladega8739187
Walker7594286
Autauga7419113
Jackson7269117
Blount7184139
Colbert6583142
Coffee6045131
Dale5326117
Russell465842
Chilton4645117
Covington4579125
Franklin444381
Tallapoosa4379157
Escambia420082
Chambers3852125
Dallas3688163
Clarke364462
Marion3380106
Pike324879
Lawrence3192101
Winston291072
Bibb280165
Geneva271583
Marengo258567
Barbour243461
Pickens239162
Butler236172
Hale231878
Fayette224564
Henry205145
Randolph194944
Cherokee193948
Monroe192141
Washington177139
Macon167552
Crenshaw164458
Clay162559
Cleburne159145
Lamar149538
Lowndes144354
Wilcox129231
Bullock125642
Conecuh118130
Coosa116029
Perry109928
Sumter108032
Greene97836
Choctaw63825
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