Two Paterson Police Officers Charged with Assaulting Victim and Filing False Police Report
NEWARK, N.J (STL.News) Two Paterson Police Officers are facing civil rights and obstruction of justice charges for allegedly assaulting a victim in Paterson and then lying about it, Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig announced.
Paterson Police Officers Kevin Patino, 29, of Paterson New Jersey, and Kendry Tineo-Restituyo, 28, also of Paterson, New Jersey are both charged by complaint with depriving a victim of his Constitutional right to be free from the use of unreasonable force by law enforcement officers and with filing a false police report. Patino surrendered this morning and Tineo-Restituyo is expected to surrender later this morning. The defendants are scheduled to appear by videoconference this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge André M. Espinosa.
“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 U.S. Attorney Honig said. “The U.S. Attorney’s Office is committed to working closely with the FBI and our state partners to investigate and prosecute these civil rights violations and restore the public trust.”
“Civil rights violations are one of the FBI’s highest priorities, particularly when the allegations involve members of law enforcement,” George M. Crouch Jr., Special Agent in Charge of the FBI, Newark Division, said. “We rely on the police to protect the public. The few who take advantage of this public trust, at any level, will be investigated by the FBI and prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
At approximately 12:30 a.m. on December 14, 2020, in Paterson, Patino and Tineo-Restituyo approached the victim, who was walking with his hands in his pockets. Patino grabbed hold of the victim. When the victim attempted to separate himself, Patino struck the victim in the face and body numerous times. While Patino was striking the victim, Tineo-Restituyo picked the victim up and threw him to the ground. Patino and Tineo-Restituyo then repeatedly struck the victim while he was on the ground.
Patino and Tineo-Restituyo then filed a police report regarding the arrest of the victim, which contained numerous false statements and omissions. For instance, the police report falsely stated that the victim had walked towards the officers “screaming profanities” and “acting belligerent” and that the victim had struck Patino with a closed fist in the chest. None of this was true. The report also omitted the fact that Patino and Tineo-Restituyo continued to strike the victim after the victim was on the ground.
The violation of civil rights count carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. The false records count carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. The maximum fine for each of the charges is $250,000.
Acting U.S. Attorney Honig credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent In Charge George M. Crouch Jr. in Newark; the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office, under the direction of Attorney General Gurbir Grewal; the Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Passaic County Prosecutor Camelia M. Valdes; and the North Jersey Public Corruption Task Force, composed of members of FBI and New Jersey State Police, with the investigation leading to the charges.
The government is represented by Senior Civil Rights Counsel Joseph Gribko of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Criminal Division in Newark.
The charges and allegations contained in the complaint are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.