PATERSON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Two Paterson police officers have been stripped of their guns and are facing federal charges.
They’re accused of assaulting a man in December and lying on a police report. Now, the state is taking over a crucial part of the police force, CBS2’s Lisa Rozner reported Tuesday.
On a slowed-down video, Osamah Alsaidi says you see two undercover Paterson officers beating him on Dec. 14 just after midnight.
Alsaidi was arrested and faced several charges, including aggravated assault on a police officer. However, he claimed it was unprovoked, and all he was doing was going to work as an Amazon deliveryman.
“They came out of the car. One of them came up and said, ‘What did you say?’ I told him, ‘I didn’t say nothing.’ And he just started punching me,” Alsaidi said back in February.
On Tuesday, the U.S. attorney backed up those claims, charging the officers, 29-year-old Kevin Patino and 28-year-old Kendry Tineo-Restituyo, with assaulting a victim and filing a false police report.
The feds say the officers lied about Alsaidi walking towards officers “screaming profanities” and “acting belligerent.”
It was also allegedly falsely written that Alsaidi struck Patino with a closed fist in the chest.
“The message is that Paterson and many other cities across New Jersey have issues with police brutality. It’s a systemic issue and our job is to call it out when it happens,” said Selaedin Maksut of the Council on American Islamic Relations NJ. “Especially actions like this, where they put someone in the hospital.”
“This is not a reflection on every man and woman in our police department. As a matter of fact, I interact with police officers every day and I can assure you that the vast, vast majority of police officers are reputable in our city,” Mayor Andre Sayegh said.
Both officers appeared virtually in front of a federal judge and were released on $50,000 bond. Patino was also ordered to undergo a mental health evaluation.
His attorney said he is not guilty.
For now, the state attorney general announced the Passaic County prosecutor will oversee the city’s Internal Affairs investigations.
Paterson police said the two officers are suspended without pay. Also, the Passaic County prosecutor will review any cases they were involved in.
Tineo-Restituyo’s attorney said they’d have more to say at a later date. If convicted, both officers face up to 30 years in prison.