Hopatcong police officer charged with slapping man in bunny suit

A police officer in Sussex has been charged with assault for allegedly slapping a man who was wearing a bunny costume and blowing an air horn in an incident captured on video.



The Sussex County Prosecutor's Office says that Hopatcong Police Officer Nicholas Maresca Jr. faces one count of simple assault after he allegedly slapped Kevin Hemmerich on Nov. 17.



A video shot by Hemmerich's brother Jason showed Kevin Hemmerich entering the Hopatcong police station and blowing an air horn repeatedly despite being told to stop.



Jason Hemmerich said two officers began cursing at them, and one hit his brother in the face. He told News 12 New Jersey that his brother was turning himself in on a warrant related to a motor vehicle accident.



Hemmerich was not seriously injured



A defense attorney for Officer Maresca tells NJ.com that the officer "acted appropriately and in accordance with his training and experience."



Officer Maresca will remain on administrative duty for the time being.



A court hearing is scheduled for Dec. 28.



The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.


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