Two police officers have been charged with assaulting a victim and filing a false police report, acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig said on Tuesday.
Kevin Patino, 29, and Kendry Tineo-Restituyo, 28, both of Paterson, have been charged with deprivation of rights under color of law and falsification of record.
Patino surrendered to authorities on Tuesday morning. Tineo-Restituyo is expected to surrender this morning as well.
On December 14, 2020 at around 12:30 a.m., Patino and Tineo-Restituyo approached the victim, who was walking with his hands in his pockets, outside of 1245 Madison Avenue. Patino grabbed the victim, but the victim tried to separate himself. He then struck the victim in the face and body numerous times, authorities said.
Tineo-Restituyo picked the victim up and threw him to the ground. Both officers then repeatedly struck the victim while he was on the ground, authorities said.
“Police officers should hold themselves to the highest possible standards,” Honig said. “The conduct described in this criminal complaint makes clear that these two defendants did not do that. Assaulting a suspect and then falsifying official police reports to cover it up can never be tolerated. These are criminal acts by defendants who should know better.”
A video of the incident shared by a Muslim civil rights organization went viral in February. Lawyers identified the victim as 19-year-old Osamah Alsidi of Paterson. He was badly injured and required treatment at the hospital.
“We welcome the U.S. Attorney’s prosecution of these civil rights violations and hope they will work to ensure justice is served for Osamah Alsaidi,” Selaedin Maksut, director of CAIR-NJ, said. “This is a step toward justice, but we will not be satisfied until both officers are tried and convicted for their alleged crimes. No one is above the law. We will continue to hold police officers accountable for their abuse of power.”
Patino and Tineo joined the police force in 2017. Both have been suspended without pay, according to mayor Andre Sayegh.
Patino and Tineo-Restituyo could face 30 years in prison if convicted on both charges.
“Civil rights violations are one of the FBI’s highest priorities, particularly when the allegations involve members of law enforcement,” George Crouch Jr., special agent in charge of the FBI, Newark Division, said. “We rely on the police to protect the public. The few who take advantage of this public trust, at any level, will be investigated by the FBI and prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”
Patino and Tineo-Restituyo join eight other Paterson police officers charged with violating people’s civil rights.
Updated 12:55 p.m.