Two New Jersey police officers are facing significant prison sentences after they beat up a man who had called them to prevent himself from inflicting self-harm.
A man from Paterson, New Jersey, called police and said he was thinking of committing suicide. After being transported to the hospital, words were exchanged between the man and two officers, which were apparently insulting to the men in blue.
Officer Roger Then and another unnamed officer decided to strike the man in the hospital bed. One of the officers put on hospital gloves, while the other filmed on his cellphone video camera the entire ordeal, smiling into the camera as they beat the man. Security footage from the hospital waiting room also caught part of the attack on film.
The injuries sustained by the man were so severe that they required him to have surgery on one of his eyes. If convicted, both police officers could face up to 10 years in federal prison.
Rather than do something to help the man who had reached out to them, these officers made his life even worse. A verbal insult being hurled at them is no excuse for their behavior — they should have been more restrained, walked away from the victim, or reacted in a more proactive way.
There are officers across the country who serve dutifully day-in and day-out. However, we must recognize when abuses occur and call them out for what they are. Incidents of violence by police officers must be dealt with appropriately to ensure the police continue to work for the people and not abuse their positions of authority.
Banner/Thumbnail Credits: Ashlee Espinal/Reuters