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Two police officers in Paterson, New Jersey have been hit with federal charges after being caught on camera beating up a teenager in December.
Officers Kevin Patino, 29 and Kendry Tineo-Restituyo, 28 are accused of denying Osamah Alsaidi, 20, his civil rights — and then lying about it, prosecutors said Tuesday.
On Dec. 14, Patino and Tineo-Restituyo approached Alsaidi on the street and grabbed him, prosecutors said.
When the then 19-year-old tried to free himself, Patino punched him numerous times while Tineo-Restituyo threw him to the ground, according to prosecutors. The cops then took turns beating him on the ground, the complaint said.
The police allegedly filed a false report full of lies and omissions that the video footage clearly refutes, according to the feds. Police had claimed that Alsaidi was acting belligerently and had attacked the officers, prosecutors said.
In a February Instagram post, Alsaidi wrote he was walking “to go to work” when the cops approached “and started punching me for no reason.”
“I was 19 at the time and have no criminal record. I was humiliated and treated like an animal. They tortured me at the police station,” the lengthy post continued.
The cops are charged with civil rights violations, obstruction of justice and filing a false police report. If convicted, they face 30 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
“Police officers who abuse their positions to exert power over and injure the citizens they are supposed to protect violate our Constitution and erode trust in our public institutions,” Acting US Attorney Rachael Honig said.
After the announcement, the Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office took over the internal affairs functions of the Paterson Police Department, Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said.
Federal investigators have been probing the department for corruption over the past three years, and at least 10 officers have been charged with misconduct.
Patino’s lawyer said he is not guilty of the charges, according to The Star Ledger.
Tineo-Restituyo’s attorney declined to comment to the news outlet.
The cops are free on a $50,000 unsecured appearance bond, according to the report.
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