Ex-Paterson officer sentenced for concealing hospital patient attack
A former Paterson police officer who concealed the assault of a hospital patient last year has been sentenced to six months in prison.
Roger Then must also serve a year of supervised release under the sentence imposed Tuesday. The 29-year-old had pleaded guilty in December to concealing knowledge of a felony.
Federal prosecutors say Then and fellow Paterson officer Ruben McAusland were involved in the March 2018 assault. Authorities say the victim had multiple facial injuries, including an eye injury that required surgery.
"I still don't have a valid explanation as to why he would record the second attack, but then he falsely reported to the Paterson Police Department what happened,” says Steven Greene, an attorney for the patient who was assaulted.
McAusland was sentenced last week to more than five years in prison. He had admitted taking part in the patient assault and unrelated drug dealing charges - including that he stole from a crime scene while on duty.
Greene says that his client is still recovering after the assault.
"This attack took place a little bit more than a year ago but he is still suffering from the impact of what happened to him at the hands of McAusland and Mr. Then,” Greene says.
Paterson Mayor Andre Sayegh says that his office is working with federal authorities to weed out corruption in the Paterson Police Department. Four other Paterson officers are under investigation by the FBI for allegedly stealing from people during traffic stops.
Sayegh says that incidents like what happened with McAusland and Then won’t happen anymore in his city.
"It was abhorrent. I am appalled and that will never happen again as far as I'm concerned,” he says. “In the event that it does happen again, we will do the same thing. We will turn them over to the appropriate authorities to be prosecuted.”
The victim’s attorney says that they are planning on filing a lawsuit in civil court against the two former officers.
The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.