Police brutality suit alleges officers punched man, woman | Paterson Times

Police brutality suit alleges officers punched man, woman


A federal lawsuit accuses two city police officers of having punched and stomped an arguing couple.

The two city residents Carlos Rodriguez and Darline Espinal allege that two police officers responded to their Paterson Avenue apartment following an argument that dragged on between the two.

Officers David Baird and Victor Ungarian knocked on the apartment door. Rodriguez responded opening the door. According to the suit: “Ungarian asked Rodriguez ‘What happened?’”

Rodriguez told the officers there was no issue and told them to leave. “Rodriguez respond by saying: ‘nothing is wrong…leave,’” reads the suit.

“Ungarian punched Rodriguez without provocation or justification on the face knocking him unconscious,” states the suit. After the officer knocked Rodriguez to the ground, Espinal came out of her room screaming, demanding answers from the officers.

The suit states Espinal ran out of her room asking the officer who had just punched Rodriguez, “Why did you do that?” reads the suit.

“Ungarinan turned around and also punched Espinal on the face,” alleges the suit. “Espinal felt face down on the floor and…Baird started stomping on her to keep her from moving.”

Rodriguez who was unconscious came out of his state and seeing Espinal screaming he attempted to get off the ground. “Ungarian saw him trying to get up and kicked him on the face splitting his head open by the eyebrow,” reads the suit.

The incident occurred on June 9th, 2012, when Rodriguez and Espinal engaged in a verbal dispute outside their home. The dispute was dragged indoors, according to the suit.

A neighbor heard the two arguing inside their apartment. He knocked on the door to ask whether everything was okay. Espinal informed him everything was fine, and the neighbor departed. 20-minute later Baird and Ungarian were knocking on the door.

Subsequently, “Baird picked up Espinal, cuffed her and brought her downstairs,” reads the suit. Ungarian remained with Rodriguez in the apartment for about ten-minute, according to the suit.

Ungarian, alleges the suit, “hit Rodriguez with his baton on the head” after the officer handcuffed him in front of another set of neighbors.

In their suit against the city’s police department Rodriguez and Espinal state the officers violated their civil rights and constitutional guarantees.

Rodriguez and Espinal, both of whom are Hispanic, also claim that officers attacked them based on their race. Rodriguez and Espinal “were deprived of their right to equal protection when they were selectively targeted by the Officer Ungarian and Officer Baird because of their race and ethnicity,” alleges the suit.

The couple are asking “compensatory, exemplary, punitive damages” against the city, according to the suit.

  • http://www.facebook.com/animalabusewar Animal Abuse War

    They shouldn't have been fighting and disturbing the neighbors.now THEY want to sue? I would like to see video to determine if cops were just being assh*les,or if the behavior of the couple earned them a couple of whacks.some people just need a beating.And I'm not defending the police if they were wrong,but I feel like beating up people every day,living in Paterson,seeing how most humans act and no one doing a thing to stop it.it can't continue. stupidity has become 'normal' here.Paterson is becoming a city of idiots

  • pete

    Total b.s. just looking for another payday from the city..

    • http://www.facebook.com/animalabusewar Animal Abuse War

      some people simply deserve a beating.& a course afterwards,on normal human behavior.

      • Citizen 1

        You might one day require the help of an officer or someone may call them on you for whatever reason, let's hope that when they come they don't frivolously decide that you "deserve a beating".

        • http://www.facebook.com/animalabusewar Animal Abuse War

          I'm not fond of police but still show them respect.i am careful to keep my hands where they can see them,and do nothing to "become a threat" to them.i DO argue with them if they are disrespecting my rights.so if I get a beating it would be unjustified.However,those people who act up,do not listen to police responding to an incident,and run or physically fight the police,SHOULD get a severe enough beating to teach them they are no more above the law or more entitled than anyone else.i have seen some very patient Paterson police take a lot of cr*p.i would have clubbed the idiots.

          • Citizen 1

            It's a thirst for violence like that that gets Patersonians and Paterson Police these bad stigmas. Not every problem can be or has to be solved with violence. I understand the need to use force some, maybe most, cases and even how things can escalate to violence but beatings are not the way wrongful behavior is corrected in this country. It's unAmerican.

  • Citizen 1

    I don't think these people are necessarily looking for a payday or "deserve a beating", they may not even be totally innocent in all of this, but as someone who has dealt with a fraction of this type of unwarranted power driven madness from Paterson Police, I don't dismiss these allegations.

    I would bet a good number of people, like me, don't even bring up police abuse after they are handled and released from custody; Some people might not even recognize that they have been wronged, some might be too embarrassed to say that they were abused by and officer, and some might just be used to it or accept the abuse as the norm – nonetheless, we hear these stories time and time again. About Police Officers abusing their power and beating someone mercilessly, without provocation — brutally, and there needs to be more done about this.

    It's sad to say but in a lot of these cases the Officers probably had their actions ok'd because the person was a "criminal" but what the Officers are doing would definitely be considered criminal behavior if they didn't hold a badge. There needs to be, not only a line drawn between the acceptable way to treat a violent criminal and a compliant one, or even slightly disagreeable/resisting one, and there needs to be a clear punishment for Police Officers who are acting criminally while dealing with criminals. It is such an embarrassment to this country that the Police often get away with the use of excessive force without repercussions… unless enough people find out about the incident and public outrage ensues.

    Even if these people had done something to deserve this level of violence (which seems unlikely to me), once the Officers are in a position to manipulate the situation, extreme force is no longer necessary, and it sounds like they had both of these "offenders" down on the ground. There was no need for the extra violence. This is a good example of why people don't trust the Police. We need to be assured that the whole Police Dept. is here to protect and serve us. We need to be able to trust when we call them that we won't be calling and ordering a brutal beating.

    I really hope this is thoroughly investigated and handled properly.

    • http://www.facebook.com/animalabusewar Animal Abuse War

      I do not trust the police and am involved against police brutality.i am very against many of police actions, but sometimes it is deserved.a lot of these criminals get away with stuff over and over.most are repeat offenders let out early due to sissy prosecutors making deals with them.they are on every corner terrorizing innocent residents.If they are at the point where they want to fight police,let them get a beating and a half. I am not condoning any brutality to those innocent victims out there. It is up to every single innocent person who is being brutalized, to report it and persevere, in order to remove the scum officers from the dept.-It's a shame other officers who know this is going on don't report on their own.not doing so leaves us not trusting ANY of them.

  • http://www.facebook.com/animalabusewar Animal Abuse War

    I too hope this is investigated to see if it was wrong on the part of the police or if these people did something to provoke it. The moral of the story is,to avoid this type of drama,don't behave in a manner that brings attention of police.