Following an FBI investigation into police corruption in Paterson, New Jersey, a sixth police officer was arrested Tuesday on federal corruption charges under color of law. Five other Patterson officers face multiple federal charges, including illegal searches, drug dealing, thefts from drug suspects, and assaults.
According to the recent criminal complaint, Paterson police officers Daniel Pent, Eudy Ramos, and other officers participated in stopping and searching motor vehicles, without any justification, and stole cash and other items from the occupants of the motor vehicles. Pent, Ramos, and others also illegally stopped and searched individuals in buildings or on the streets of Paterson and seized cash from those individuals.
On February 1, 2017, officer Pent and Ramos allegedly stopped a vehicle and stole $10,000 from one of the occupants. While failing to disclose the stolen $10,000 from the occupant, Pent filled out a prisoner property report for the victim that falsely stated the victim had approximately $36 on his person.
On March 20, Ramos was charged in a nine-count indictment with conspiring to violate, and violating, the civil rights of individuals in Paterson, and with filing multiple false reports to conceal his criminal conduct. Ramos was previously charged by criminal complaint in April 2018.
According to court documents, Ramos and Paterson officers Jonathan Bustios and Matthew Torres allegedly targeted, stopped, and searched vehicles and the occupants of those vehicles and illegally seized cash from them. They also split the cash among themselves and submitted false reports to the Paterson Police Department, omitting their illegal conduct or lying about their actions.
On December 1, 2017, Ramos and Bustios stopped and searched an individual on a street corner in Paterson and stole approximately $1,000 from the individual. After the theft, a video of a portion of the encounter was posted to Twitter.
On December 7, 2017, Torres and Ramos stole at least $800 during a traffic stop. They failed to report the incident to the department.
On December 18, 2018, Bustios pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to violate an individuals’ civil rights and one count of extortion under color of official right. He faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in federal prison.
Charged with separate crimes, Paterson officer Ruben McAusland pleaded guilty last year to federal charges, including possession with intent to distribute narcotics and deprivation of civil rights under color of law for assaulting a hospital patient in a wheelchair. On December 6, 2018, Officer Roger Then pleaded guilty to misprision of felony, for concealing the civil rights crime committed by his partner, Ruben McAusland.
On Tuesday, Paterson Police Officer Daniel Pent was the sixth officer arrested in the FBI’s current probe into the department. Charged with conspiring to deprive individuals of civil rights under color of law, Pent faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000.