Paterson Officers Charged With Covering For Nypd Captain Indicted For Brutally Beating Woman

UPDATE: The other shoe finally dropped with the arrests of three Paterson police officers in connection with what authorities said was the kidnapping and brutal beating of an off-duty female NYPD commander from New Jersey by a fellow captain she'd been dating.

LEFT to RIGHT: iuseppe Ciarla, Justin Schmid, Juan Cruz-Fernandez

LEFT to RIGHT: iuseppe Ciarla, Justin Schmid, Juan Cruz-Fernandez


Giuseppe Ciarla, Juan Cruz-Fernandez and Jason Schmid let then-NYPD Capt. Hariton Marachilian leave after finding the victim with clearly visible injuries from a vicious beating outside a Paterson restaurant in December 2022, Passaic County Prosecutor Camelia M. Valdes said.

Marachilian and the female captain had been out to dinner with a group of people before the attack, investigators said.

A grand jury in Paterson last month indicted Marachilian, 46, of Syosset, Long Island, on first-degree kidnapping and second-degree aggravated assault charges, as well as on lesser but also serious charges of criminal restraint and coercion.

He has remained held in the Bergen County Jail ever since this past Dec. 6 following an in-depth investigation by Valdes’s Domestic Violence Unit that led to his arrest in New York City nearly a year after the incident.

Schmid, 34, of Vernon Township, and Paterson residents Ciarla, 42, and Cruz-Fernandez, 29, responded to the 3:05 a.m. domestic violence call on Dec. 10, 2022, the prosecutor said.

In what to some might resemble staged professional wrestling violence, Marchilian viciously grabbed the victim by the hair and smashed her head into the dashboard of his car, investigators later said.

But that was only the beginning, they said.

Marchilian chased the woman down after she ran, lifted her over his head and slammed her to the ground, according to an affidavit filed by Valdes's detectives in Superior Court in Paterson last November that directly contradicts the police report.

After dragging her back to the car, Marchilian drove off, then stopped and began assaulting her again, the complaint says.

Machilian had seized her phone, it says, but a Good Samaritan called police after the badly injured captain pleaded for help.

The victim reportedly suffered a number of injuries, including cuts, bruises and welts on her legs, feet, nose, eyes and face.

Many of these injuries were obvious when the three officers arrived, Valdes said on Monday, March 25.

The “suspect” identified himself to them as a New York City Police Department captain, she said.

“In the ensuing interaction, the Paterson Officers did not sufficiently investigate how the victim obtained her injuries and did not treat or obtain treatment for [her],” Valdes said.

“The Paterson officers did not search for or collect physical evidence,” the prosecutor said. “Marachilian was permitted to drive away from the scene by the officers and was not charged with any domestic violence offenses at the time.”

In their report, Valdes said, the officers noted that “[b]oth parties said there was no dating relationship” and “there was no evidence of domestic violence.”

The police report also noted that the woman appeared drunk.

The complaint later filed by the prosecutor's investigators said she told them that she was ending things with Marachilian when he savagely attacked her in his SUV.

Valdes, meanwhile, said Marachilian “stated multiple times” to the Paterson officers that night that the two were in a relationship.

This, combined with the injuries, automatically mandates an arrest under New Jersey's Prevention of Domestic Violence Act of 1991.

Schmid, Ciarla and Cruz-Fernandez were arrested by members of the prosecutor’s Public Integrity Unit on Monday. They're charged with official misconduct, conspiracy to commit official misconduct and hindering apprehension.

Cruz-Fernandez, who wrote the report, was also charged with tampering with public records or information.

It wasn't immediately clear whether any or all were jailed or remained free pending further court action.

Ciarla joined the department in 2005. Schmid came on in 2014. Cruz-Fernandez had only just graduated from the police academy six months earlier.

A U.S. Marine Corps veteran, "Harry" Marachilian served in Operation Iraqi Freedom in Iraq. He’s recently been president of a fraternal police organization called the Middle Eastern & Turkic Society (MTS).

He's also had a history of “stalking, harassment or terroristic threats,” Passaic County investigators said they discovered.

Multiple media reports have cited at least two alleged instances of sexual harassment involving Marachilian, leading to his transfer to another precinct in one instance last summer and an $800,000 settlement paid to another female officer in 2020.

Marachilian reportedly had been removed as commander of the NYPD’s 90th Precinct in Williamsburg, Brooklyn last July after the captain who was beaten obtained an order of protection against him. He was forced to surrender his gun and given a desk job, according to multiple reports.

Marachilian was then suspended without pay by the NYPD on Nov. 30, 2023 and arrested in the city hours later. Marachilian was temporarily housed on Rikers Island, then booked into the Bergen County Jail in Hackensack on Dec. 6 following his extradition.

The most serious first-degree kidnapping and second-degree charges both come with mandatory prison time upon conviction. Criminal restraint causing severe bodily injury is a lesser but still serious charge in New Jersey.

Finally, there's criminal coercion, apparently via a threat that seemed aimed at getting the woman to drop a restraining order against Marachilian based on the specific state statute cited.

That in and of itself would qualify as a domestic violence offense.

Valdes cited the assistance of the NYPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau.

“The investigation into this matter remains ongoing,” she said Monday. “At this time, further information will not be released so as not to jeopardize the safety of persons involved or to jeopardize the investigation in progress.”

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