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: 307836

Reported Deaths: 7119
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto20784248
Hinds19894408
Harrison17493302
Rankin13316275
Jackson13099243
Madison9896210
Lee9859169
Jones8293160
Forrest7523146
Lauderdale7189237
Lowndes6265144
Lamar610784
Lafayette6028117
Washington5280132
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Oktibbeha455297
Panola4442103
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Warren4281118
Marshall4273100
Pontotoc416472
Monroe4057132
Union403775
Neshoba3988176
Lincoln3871108
Hancock372185
Leflore3468124
Sunflower329389
Tate322781
Pike3181104
Scott310572
Yazoo304368
Alcorn297764
Itawamba296876
Copiah293065
Coahoma289677
Simpson287484
Tippah284868
Prentiss275659
Marion265979
Wayne261341
Leake261173
Grenada254982
Covington254580
Adams245982
Newton244859
George237847
Winston225981
Tishomingo222067
Jasper219748
Attala213373
Chickasaw204857
Holmes186471
Clay182454
Stone179131
Clarke176876
Tallahatchie175540
Calhoun163230
Yalobusha158836
Smith158634
Walthall130543
Greene129433
Lawrence126323
Noxubee125933
Montgomery125542
Perry125138
Carroll120826
Amite120141
Webster113432
Jefferson Davis105432
Tunica102525
Claiborne101330
Benton97225
Kemper95226
Humphreys94332
Franklin81923
Quitman78916
Choctaw72817
Jefferson64828
Wilkinson64727
Sharkey49617
Issaquena1686
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 519071

Reported Deaths: 10712
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson754131487
Mobile37774798
Madison33868494
Tuscaloosa25283443
Montgomery23969565
Shelby23112238
Baldwin20638300
Lee15524165
Calhoun14286311
Morgan14140268
Etowah13664345
Marshall11957219
Houston10383278
Elmore9994200
Limestone9814147
Cullman9475188
St. Clair9429234
Lauderdale9218227
DeKalb8747181
Talladega8060171
Walker7092275
Jackson6755110
Autauga6727103
Blount6488135
Colbert6205130
Coffee5401112
Dale4768110
Russell428938
Franklin419982
Chilton4083109
Covington4053114
Tallapoosa3893146
Escambia388074
Dallas3527149
Chambers3500122
Clarke346360
Marion3066100
Pike305875
Lawrence295395
Winston272372
Bibb256458
Marengo248661
Geneva245875
Pickens232959
Barbour224955
Hale218775
Butler212366
Fayette208960
Henry187844
Cherokee182044
Randolph176941
Monroe171540
Washington164038
Macon154848
Clay149454
Crenshaw149357
Cleburne146041
Lamar139334
Lowndes136453
Wilcox124327
Bullock121340
Conecuh109028
Perry107926
Sumter102932
Coosa99328
Greene90734
Choctaw58724
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