NJ cop who pepper-sprayed handcuffed woman resigns to avoid jail time
A Mercer County Sheriff's Officer has resigned from his job to avoid jail time on criminal charges that he used excessive force more than two years ago — pepper-spraying a handcuffed woman.
The county sheriff's office announced the arrangement Friday, though it was reached in Burlington County Court in October.
Under the terms of a plea agreement, Lavin, a 14-year veteran of the sheriff's office, is barred from seeking any employee with Mercer County. He was also placed under 18 months of PTI supervision — a form of probation — and required to conduct community service.
Lavin, 44, of Hamilton, had been a sergeant. He'd been suspended without pay since the incident, the sheriff's office said. His salary had been slightly above $100,000, according to public records.
As described by the Trentonian, Lavin is accused of spraying the woman in the face while she was handcuffed Dec. 6, 2013 Life in Color paint party at the Sun National Bank Center — she was allegedly part of a group of people who were acting n a confrontational manner, and were detained.
Laving then allegedly filed a false police report and attempted to convince subordinate officers to file false police reports to do the same, before being charged with official misconduct.
The Mercer County Police & Sheriff’s Association FOP Lodge No. 140, of which Lavin is the president, has also been the subject of recent complaints to the sheriff’s office, the office said Friday. The Lodge’s recent fundraising solicitations continue to utilize his name and rank in their requests for donations from the public, the sheriff's office said.
If Lavin satisfies all of the requirements of the agreement, his charges stemming from the 2013 incident will be settled, according to the sheriff's office. If he does not, the former officer could be subject to further prosecution.
Lavin is seen addressing participants of an unrelated demonstration in his 2010 video posted online by Rowan Morrison: