BERKELEY TOWNSHIP - A video has surfaced that shows an officer punching a handcuffed prisoner inside a Berkeley Township jail cell.
The suspect is seen being brought into a jail cell by two officers. One officer is seen punching the suspect twice. The man's lawyer says he suffered a fractured nose and a neck injury.
Darren Yurick, 38, was arrested last year for allegedly beating up his estranged wife. Police initially had Yurick in the cell without handcuffs. When he was seen touching the jail cell lock, he was removed from the cell and handcuffed on the ground.
Yurick's attorney has filed a lawsuit in federal court alleging that Patrolman Patrick Stesner Jr. beat Yurick up once he got him back into the cell. In his police report, Officer Stesner says he struck Yurick once in the face to de-escalate the situation because Yurick was kicking him.
An internal affairs investigation at the police department concluded the force used by the officer was justified. The Ocean County Prosecutor's Office reviewed the case and had the same finding.
"There is additional video beyond what the attorney is presenting which gives a clearer picture of the entire event," says spokesman Al Della Fave.
In 2010, Berkeley Township settled a lawsuit for $110,000 after a Bayville man said police beat him. Officer Stesner was among those named in that suit.