NJ cop brutalized teen trying to help the homeless, lawyer says
A second person has come forward with brutality accusations against a Paterson police officer who already is facing a state investigation for beating a man in December.
The attorney for 18-year-old Rosdward Hernandez said he was beaten on Thanksgiving while trying to help a homeless person having a mental health crisis.
Stephanie Luzzi on Tuesday identified the officer as Kevin Patino, who also was identified this week as the officer seen in surveillance video beating Osamah Alsaidi on Dec. 14. Alsaidi, who was charged with aggravated assault on a cop, also posted part of what he said was a falsified police report that claimed that he attacked and provoked officers. The video shows none of what is contained in the police report.
CAIR-New Jersey, a Muslim civil rights organization, has called on the two officers involved in the Alsaidi case to be fired and held a news conference Tuesday in which Luzzi described details in the Hernandez case from Thanksgiving.
Luzzi said Hernandez was walking along Main Street to Thanksgiving dinner and offered to buy food for a homeless person. They were approached by a Paterson officer who Luzzi said verbally abused the man who appeared to be suffering from mental illness. The officer cursed at Hernandez when he said they were just having a conversation, according to Luzzi.
"Moments later, Officer Kevin Petino arrived on the scene and without any verbal commands or warnings began shoving Rosdward multiple times in the chest. Petino then escalated the confrontation further by throwing Rosdward onto the sidewalk and began punching him at least six times to the left side of his face," Luzzi said, adding that Petino filed a false report accusing Hernandez of assaulting an officer.
"Rosdward was beaten so badly that he couldn't see out of his left eye because it was swollen shut," Luzzi said.
Hernandez is “the victim of a malicious attack, enabled by a police department whose culture is characterized by violence and assault," Luzzi said.
CAIR-NJ Executive Director Selaedin Maksut called on the Attorney General's Office and the Passaic County Prosecutor's Office to press charges of aggravated assault and official misconduct against Petino and to investigate other officers at both incidents.
During Tuesday's briefing, attorney Diego Navas said Alsaidi was punched 15 times in the head. He is filing a lawsuit against the city. Navas hopes the media attention brings out other victims.
"I think this incident is much like what happened over summer with George Floyd and at least in our community causing this to come to a head," Navas said.
Navas said he was lucky to find a surveillance camera that caught Alsaidi's incident.
"If it wasn't for that camera, it would be the word of our client against the word of the officers. Sometimes you might win that, sometimes you might lose that, but with a camera there really is no dispute what happened here," Navas said.
The Attorney General's Office did not return a message asking if the Office of Public Integrity and Accountability was investigating the incident involving Hernandez.
Paterson Pubic Safety Director Jerry Jerry Speziale also did not return a message seeking comment about the Hernandez incident.