NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — A decorated Newark police detective has admitted beating a handcuffed prisoner during an assault four years ago.
Vernon Parker faced eight years in prison after pleading guilty Friday to official misconduct. He was to remain in the Essex County Jail until sentencing on Oct. 22.
As part of his plea bargain, prosecutors dropped charges against two other Newark officers who were with Parker when the Sept. 19, 2006 assault occurred but did not participate in the incident.
The attack — which was heard by at least eight people — happened after Parker arrested a man on a municipal warrant. Instead of taking him directly to the police station for processing, as required by police protocol, Parker drove the handcuffed man around the city for an hour in an unmarked police cruiser and arrested six other people before returning to headquarters.
When the prisoner asked to speak with a police supervisor because he wanted to complain about how Parker had treated him, prosecutors say Parker pushed him into an old storage area and assaulted him. The man sustained a fractured eye socket, broken jaw and facial injuries in the attack and was taken to a nearby hospital for treatment.
Police officials now plan to move ahead with plans to fire Parker, who has been suspended without pay after being indicted in 2008. An 11-year veteran of the Newark force, Parker was wounded in a 2003 shootout and received a medal of excellence in 2006 from former Mayor Sharpe James.
Parker also pleaded guilty Friday to unrelated charges involving his teenage stepdaughter. In one case, he admitted using excessive physical force to discipline the girl, and in the other admitted to child endangerment for physically assaulting her.
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