Police officer Roger Then has pleaded guilty to concealing his partner’s assault of a suicidal man at St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center.
Then, 29, of Paterson, pleaded guilty before judge William Martini in the Newark federal courthouse on Thursday morning to misprision of felony for concealing the civil rights violation committed by police officer Ruben McAusland.
Then faces a maximum of three years in prison and fine of $250,000, according to the U.S. attorney Craig Carpenito’s office. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Mar. 12, 2019.
McAusland has previously pleaded guilty to violating the victim’s civil rights and dealing drugs using his police car in Jun.
The charges against Then and McAusland stemmed from a Mar. 5, 2018 incident. Both men responded to a call from an attempted suicide victim. Ambulance picked up the victim and took him to the hospital.
Then and McAusland responded to the victim’s home and followed the ambulance to the hospital to monitor him.
A pair of videos captured at the hospital that night showed the victim in a wheelchair. In the first video, the victim throws an object down the hallway. Angry at the victim’s conduct, McAusland pushes the wheelchair with his hands and punches the victim in the face.
As the victim fell towards the ground, Then grabbed him by the back of the neck and pushed him to the ground.
Then reached for his handcuffs, but McAusland told him not to handcuff the victim.
“I got this,” McAusland tells Then.
In the second video, captured by Then using his cellphone, the victim is on his back in a hospital bed.
“Right here? See my cheek?” the victim tells the officers, taunting them.
“You have the right guy today,” responds McAusland. Then turns the cellphone towards himself and smiles.
Then then turned the camera towards the victim and McAusland.
“Ha, ha, bitch,” the victim is heard saying.
“I’m a what?” asks McAusland.
“Do it,” the victim says.
McAusland puts on a pair of gloves and violently strikes the victim twice across the face, according to charging documents.
“I ain’t f–king playing with you,” McAusland says standing over the victim.
The victim covered his face with his hands and fell silent.
“Calm your ass down,” McAusland is heard saying.
Both officers submitted false police reports that did not include their attacks on the victim, authorities said.
The victim sustained injuries to his face and required surgery.
Police director Jerry Speziale said Then will be terminated today after police receive the paperwork of his guilty plea.
Then joined the police force in 2016. McAusland joined in 2014. McAusland is awaiting sentencing.