As a result of an FBI investigation into police corruption in Paterson, New Jersey, another police officer recently pleaded guilty to conspiracy to violate individuals’ civil rights and filing a false police report. In addition to stealing money and falsifying reports, the corrupt cop also pleaded guilty to repeatedly using unreasonable and excessive force.
Since 2017, Paterson Police Officer Eudy Ramos and other officers, including Jonathan Bustios, Daniel Pent, Matthew Torres, Frank Toledo, and others, participated in a conspiracy to pull over vehicles without justification and steal money from the occupants. To cover up their criminal activity, Ramos and his fellow officers then filed false police reports, omitting the thefts.
On February 1, 2017, Ramos and Pent conducted a traffic stop and stole approximately $10,000 from the passenger of the vehicle. After splitting the money between themselves, the officers wrote a false police report that omitted the $10,000 theft.
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 by a third party.
On December 2, 2017, Ramos and Toledo arrested an individual. During the arrest, they stole $1,000 from the individual and split the proceeds.
On December 7, 2017, Ramos and Torres stole $800 during a traffic stop. They failed to report the incident to the department.
On February 20, 2018, Ramos and Bustios stole a bag containing approximately $1,800 from the inside of a vehicle during a traffic stop. The officers did not report to the Paterson Police Department the fact that they had stopped and searched the vehicle, detained and searched its occupants, and taken cash, all without legal justification.
Ramos also admitted to routinely using unreasonable and excessive force in his encounters with individuals in Paterson, causing them bodily harm. On January 20, 2015, Ramos and Pent illegally assaulted a man for playing music too loud in his car.
On September 7, 2016, Ramos depressed the brakes on his police car and forced a handcuffed individual in the backseat of his police car to slam his head against the divider, a tactic known as “brake-checking.” On March 2, 2017, Ramos and Bustios allowed an individual to punch a suspected thief while filming the encounter for their own amusement.
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.
On March 26, 2019, Pent was charged by complaint with conspiring to deprive individuals of their civil rights.
In May, Torres pleaded guilty to conspiring to deprive individuals of their civil rights and to filing a false police report. His sentencing is scheduled for November 18.
In July, Toledo pleaded guilty to conspiring to deprive individuals of their civil rights, to using unreasonable and excessive force against individuals in Paterson, and to filing a false police report. His sentencing is scheduled for October 22.
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. McAusland was sentenced to 66 months in federal prison for violating an individual’s civil rights by assaulting him at a hospital and also admitted to stealing marijuana, heroin, cocaine, and crack cocaine from crime scenes with the intent to illegally selling the narcotics.
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. Then was sentenced to 6 months in federal prison.
On Monday, Ramos pleaded guilty to conspiracy to violate individuals’ civil rights and filing a false police report. Ramos also pleaded guilty to an information charging him with using unreasonable and excessive force in violation of individuals’ civil rights.
The conspiracy to violate civil rights and the deprivation of civil rights charges each carry 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 count is $250,000. Sentencing is currently scheduled for January 8, 2020.
At least 7 Paterson police officers have been arrested in connection to the federal probe.