Ewing, NJ cops indicted with assaulting teen during arrest
EWING — Two current and one retired Ewing police officers were indicted on charges they assaulted a minor during an arrest by kicking snow in his face in 2018.
The officers were among a dozen that responded to the report of a stolen vehicle around 8:15 a.m. on Jan. 5, 2018, according to acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig.
The driver, a 16-year-old boy, ran from the car after it crashed and was found by Michael Delahanty, 51, of Robbinsville, a retired Ewing Township Police lieutenant; Matthew Przemieniecki, 43, of Hamilton and Justin Ubry, 33, of Burlington in a detached shed on a residential property.
Body camera footage posted by The Trentonian showed the officers pulling the teen through a window and pushing him onto the snow-covered ground while ordering him to put his hands behind his back. The temperature was well below freezing that day, according to Honig, who said the teen never resisted arrest.
As he lay on his stomach being held down by one officer as he was being handcuffed Delahanty used his boot to step on the back of the victim’s head, pressing his face into the snow, according to Honig.
Przemieniecki then used his boot to step on the victim’s head, again driving his face into the snow. Urbry and Przemieniecki then kicked snow several times directly into the teen's face.
"Under the circumstances, the force that defendants Delahanty, Przemieniecki, and Ubry applied to the victim was unreasonable and excessive and violated the victim’s constitutional right to be free from such force," according to the indictment.
Delahanty and Przemieniecki are charged with a felony offense of deprivation of rights under color of law causing bodily injury, and Ubry is charged with a misdemeanor offense of deprivation of rights under color of law.
Ewing Police Chief Al Rhodes told New Jersey 101.5 Przemieniecki and Ubry are suspended with pay pending the outcome of the case.
Rhodes said in the immediate weeks after the arrest, the Mercer County Prosecutor's Office, the state Attorney General's office and the FBI reviewed the case and concluded no criminal charges were warranted. It was referred back to the department for an internal investigation.
"Recently the FBI reopened the case and indictments were handed down. The police department has cooperated fully with the investigation and continues to do so," Rhodes said.