Family of man who went missing after encounter with Paterson police officers seeks answers

Felix DeJesus, 41, went missing nine months ago.

News 12 Staff

Nov 10, 2022, 3:21 AM

Updated 529 days ago


A New Jersey family says it's desperate for answers after a loved one went missing following an encounter with Paterson police officers.
Felix DeJesus, 41, went missing nine months ago.
“Very hard for the family. We’ve been searching all over the place and we can’t find nothing,” says DeJesus’ brother Giovanni DeJesus.
Felix DeJesus went missing in February. Video from a police body camera shows some of his final moments.
The encounter begins with Paterson Police Officers Jacob Feliciano and Dodi Zorrilla handcuffing DeJesus and struggling to get him in a police car.
Family members say DeJesus was drunk. Police officers were called to a bodega where a woman said DeJesus grabbed her. She did not want to pursue charges.
There is no video of what happens next.
The officers were suspended for three months for a series of violations. It is believed that they turned off their body cameras.
Paterson Mayor Andre Sayegh says the officers dropped DeJesus off at a nearby park.
"They didn't abide by the rules. Now, they were not involved in the disappearance of Mr. DeJesus,” Sayegh says.
He says DeJesus was then seen at the park with other people.
"The last time Felix DeJesus was seen was not with these police officers, [but with] five individuals, one of which is considered a person of interest,” the mayor says.
This is the latest in a long line of issues with the Paterson Police Department. Sayegh just fired the chief of police. An officer was fired for assaulting a person. And a group of officers was charged with robbing and tormenting residents.
There are now growing calls for the county prosecutor to quit for letting it happen under her watch.
"It becomes perplexing, and it becomes exhausting because they begin to think that nobody cares,” says community activist Corey Teague.
The DeJesus family says it believes the officers involved are holding something back.
"Anybody sees my brother in the morgue or the hospital, please contact the family,” says Giovanni DeJesus.
DeJesus was living in Haledon at the time of his disappearance, so that department is still investigating the missing person case.
Family members say because he was drunk, the officers should have never left him at that park. They say he should've been left at a hospital or taken to headquarters.

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