NJ prison video reportedly shows officers beating women for no reason
A fourth correctional police officer has been charged in a “brutal attack” on inmates at the state’s women’s prison after prosecutors say he lied and tried to cover up the attack, which was caught on surveillance camera.
State prosecutors say video from the prison shows officers beating women inmates for no legitimate reason because they were not resisting or posing a threat.
Sgt. Matthew D. Faschan, 33, of Hackettstown, was charged with two counts of second-degree official misconduct and one count of third-degree tampering with public records or information.
Faschan already has been on suspension, among roughly 30 other staffers, following the overnight incident at Edna Mahan Correctional Facility for Women in mid-January.
“As I stated earlier this month, we will follow the evidence in this case wherever it leads and we will not rest until all of those responsible for these brutal attacks— at any level of the prison’s hierarchy— are held accountable,” Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said in a written statement on Tuesday.
“That includes all those involved in planning and covering up these horrific acts.”
Between 10:30 p.m. on Jan. 11 and 1:15 a.m. on Jan. 12, a number of DOC officers and supervisors carried out “forced cell extractions” of inmates in one unit of the prison, Grewal said.
On Feb. 4, charges were announced against three other officers: Sgt. Amir Bethea, 35, of Springfield; Sgt. Anthony Valvano, 38, of Bound Brook; and Officer Luis Garcia, 23, of Nutley.
Faschan also was involved and was assigned to video record the process, as required by Department of Corrections policies, according to the attorney general.
However, Faschan failed to take video and instead later made up a report that he had video recorded an inmate hurting herself, he said.
Around 1 a.m., surveillance video appears to show an inmate in her cell, throwing an unknown white liquid substance into the hallway. A short time later, a team of DOC officers, including Faschan, arrives outside that same inmate’s cell.
Faschan can be seen holding a video camera, as the inmate extends her hands through an opening in her cell door to be handcuffed. The surveillance footage then shows the female inmate begging officers not to harm her, before five corrections officers then enter her cell and forcibly remove her, during which one or more of the officers punched the woman, who remained handcuffed.
Despite being responsible for recording the extraction and possessing a video camera, it is alleged that Faschan purposely did not record the extraction, in violation of clearly established DOC policies.
Faschan later submitted an official report in which he lied about filming the cell extraction and instead blamed the inmate for her injuries, Grewal said, adding “no such video exists.”
Prison surveillance video also shows corrections officers using pepper spray on a second inmate before immediately entering her cell.
Garcia punched that woman in the face about 28 times even though she was not resisting, Grewal said, causing a concussion among other injuries,
Faschan failed to report the unauthorized use of force against the second inmate, as well, prosecutors said.
“Unfortunately, our investigation was delayed in part by false and misleading reports filed by officers, officers who attempted to cover up what they had done and the injuries they had caused,” Grewal previously said, in announcing the charges against Bethea, Valvano and Garcia.