A Trenton, N.J., man says he was viciously beaten by local police, suffering multiple injuries, after he was pulled over for allegedly running a red light.
Let me repeat that.
A 40-year-old man says he was tackled, punched and kicked by two city police officers, leaving him with a concussion, several broken or fractured bones, and head injuries, all because he ran a red light.
According to The Trentonian, Genesis Torres and his attorney said that the police “beat the crap out of” him during a Sept. 2 incident outside a city liquor store.
“They could have killed him,” Torres’ attorney, Robin Lord, told the news site.
Torres has filed an internal-affairs complaint, and the Trenton Police Department has launched an investigation into the matter. Torres said that there is also a witness who was in the parking lot at the time of his attack, who is willing to back up his claims. He is also planning to sue the city over the incident.
Of course, the police say that Torres fought the officers at the time of the altercation. However (also of course), police footage of the incident does not seem to exist.
According to the police, the incident began when they attempted to pull Torres over, saying that he ignored oncoming traffic and accelerated through a red light, The Trentonian reports.
Torres insists that he did not notice the cops until he exited his vehicle and started walking toward the liquor store that he had pulled up to. The officers did not have on their lights, he said.
Cops say that Torres was given a “loud and lawful” order to remain in his car, but that instead he took off running, leaving his engine running, and ended up assaulting the officers.
“We quickly closed the distance to Torres and grabbed him,” Officer Harrison Steimle wrote in a criminal complaint. “Torres stiffened his body and refused to place his hands behind his back. Torres struck Detective Mejia’s forearms in an attempt [to] free himself. Torres violently swung his arms with closed fists and struck at us as he attempted to escape.”
Torres insisted that he did not move, and that the next thing he knew, they were beating him.
“When I got to the back parking lot, I seen two cops,” Torres said. “They told me, ‘Don’t move, don’t move, don’t move.’ I put my hands up. As I’m falling down, they’re punching on me.”
Torres told the news site that he stopped with his hands up and did not attempt to run. However, he said, he ended up being pushed over a guard rail and ultimately blacked out and was unable to recall details after he hit his head on the ground.
“This shit needs to stop and stop now,” attorney Lord said, adding that she plans to file a civil tort claim notice against the city. “I’ve been complaining about police brutality in this city for decades. It’s about time they do something about it.”
Lord said that she probably will not call for the resignation of city Police Director Ernest Parrey Jr., who is currently under fire as other allegations of brutality flood the department. She thinks that the issue within Trenton goes far beyond one person and is more deeply entrenched.
Three other city cops were already caught on a body camera discussing how to get away with using excessive force, prompting the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey to call for an outside investigation into whether the department has a pattern or practice of brutality, The Trentonian notes.
Parrey himself is also under scrutiny personally, having been caught on tape calling residents “hood rats,” a term critics have called racist.
Torres spent three days in the hospital—handcuffed to a bed—after his encounter. He was charged with aggravated assault on officers, resisting arrest and drug possession—as cops say they found cocaine and marijuana after stopping him.
Photos of Torres show him sporting two black eyes and multiple scratches and bruises. Lord said that he suffered a fractured jaw and cheekbone and that officers also broke his nose.
Lord insisted that the police filed the assault charge in order to “cover [their] asses.” She had requested bodycam footage of the encounter from police but was told that the department’s street-crime units weren’t given body cameras. The attorney says she is skeptical, given that a unit that often arrests dangerous criminals isn’t required to wear cameras.
In the meantime, Torres has been ordered by doctors to do a follow-up with a neurologist, and is hoping that he did not suffer any permanent damage from the encounter.
“I hope nobody else goes through what I did,” Torres said.
Read more at The Trentonian.