New Jersey officer sentenced to prison for assaulting hospital patient and distributing narcotics

“When an officer betrays the oath to protect and serve, it tarnishes the law enforcement community and puts the public at risk.”

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After pleading guilty to striking a suicidal hospital patient and selling drugs while on duty, Paterson officer Ruben McAusland was recently sentenced to 66 months in federal prison. In addition to assaulting a hospital patient on video, McAusland admitted to stealing marijuana, heroin, cocaine, and crack cocaine from crime scenes with the intent to illegally selling the narcotics.

Between October 2017 and April 2018, McAusland sold various types and quantities of narcotics to an individual who was cooperating with law enforcement. In October 2017, McAusland sold the individual approximately 35 grams of marijuana, 48 grams of heroin, 31 grams of cocaine, and 31 grams of crack cocaine. McAusland admitted that he stole these narcotics from a crime scene while on duty and in uniform as a police officer.

McAusland also sold the individual two pounds of marijuana between November 2017 and January 2018. In addition, on multiple occasions between February 2018 and April 2018, McAusland sold pills that were made to resemble Percocet doses but were actually made of heroin.

In a separate incident on March 5, 2018, McAusland and his partner, Roger Then, responded to call from an attempted suicide victim. After following the victim to the hospital, McAusland pushed the victim, who was in a wheelchair, and punched him in the face. In addition, Then allegedly grabbed the victim by the neck and pushed him into the ground.

In a video recorded on Then’s cellphone, McAusland put on a pair of hospital gloves and violently struck the victim twice across the face as he was lying in a gurney. While recording the video, Then arrogantly showed his face and McAusland’s face without any fear of repercussion.

McAusland and Then filed a false police report in connection with the foregoing events. McAusland admitted that they purposely omitted from the repot the fact that McAusland violently struck the victim multiple times and that Then grabbed the victim by the neckand pushed him into the ground.

The victim suffered multiple injuries to his face, including an eye injury that required surgery, as a result of their assaults.

On December 6, 2018, Then pleaded guilty to one count of misprision of felony for concealing civil rights violations. He is scheduled to be sentenced April 2, 2019.

On Wednesday, McAusland was sentenced to 66 months in prison for violating an individual’s civil rights by assaulting him at a hospital and repeatedly distributing narcotics. He was also sentenced to three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $32,892 in restitution.

“Today’s sentencing of Ruben McAusland marks the important role that the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey plays in identifying and holding accountable officers of the law who breach their sworn duty to serve the public,” U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito said in a statement on Wednesday. “Through prosecutions like this one, police officers like McAusland – who dealt drugs, stole from a crime scene, and viciously attacked a person who sought help from the Paterson Police Department – are removed from positions where they can violate the public trust and deprive others of their civil rights under color of law. We will continue to vigilantly pursue these cases, recognizing that the people of Paterson, and all of New Jersey, deserve better.”

“The facts of this case are especially troubling to those of us in law enforcement,” Special Agent in Charge Gregory Ehrie of the Newark FBI Field Office stated. “When an officer betrays the oath to protect and serve, it tarnishes the law enforcement community and puts the public at risk.”

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