A former Paterson police officer must serve six months in federal prison for concealing the assault of a hospitalized suicidal man by his partner, which he recorded with his cellphone.
Roger Then, 29, of Paterson, was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Newark after pleading guilty last December to misprison of felony for concealing the civil rights crime committed by his partner, Ruben McAusland, at St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center in Paterson.
McAusland was sentenced last week to 5½ years for the assault.
SEE: A former Paterson police officer will spend 5½ years in federal prison for assaulting a hospitalized attempted suicide victim -- while his partner recorded it -- and selling drugs that he stole from crime scenes while on duty following his sentencing in U.S. District Court in Newark on Wednesday.
Both must serve their entire sentences; there’s no parole in the federal prison system.
McAusland and Then first responded to the victim's house but learned then that he'd been transported to St. Joe’s, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito said.
Finding the victim in a wheelchar at the hospital admissions desk, McAusland admitted, he pushed him and punched him in the face.
Then, 29, then grabbed the man by the neck and threw him to the ground, Carpenito said.
Both officers then went to the room given to the patient, the U.S. attorney said.
Then was recording on his cellphone as McAusland "put on a pair of hospital gloves and violently struck the victim twice across the face," Carpenito said.
McAusland and Then, in turn, filed a false police report, omitting the beatings.
"The victim suffered multiple injuries to his face, including an eye injury that required surgery, as a result of these assaults," Carpenito said.
Some of the assaults were captured by the video made by Then and one produced by a hospital surveillance camera, Carpenito said.
In Then’s video, the victim is on his back in a hospital bed.
According to Carpenito:
The victim says: “Right here? See my cheek?”
McAusland responds: “You have the right guy today.”
Then turns the camera toward himself and smiles, then turns it back toward the victim and his partner.
“Ha ha, bitch,” the victim says.
“I’m a what?” McAusland responds.
“Do it,” the victim says.
McAusland then put on a pair of hospital gloves and punched the victim twice in the face, Carpenito said.
McAusland then stands over the victim and says, “I ain’t f***ing playing with you.”
The victim covers his face with his hands and is silent, the U.S. attorney said.
“Calm your ass down,” McAusland says.
“Rather than intervening to stop McAusland’s assault of the victim, Then recorded it,” Carpenito said.
Both officers later submitted a police report that didn’t mention either of them assaulting the victim, he said.
Their report also doesn’t refer to the hospital room assault, or that Then recorded it, or that he didn’t try to stop McAusland, Carpenito added.
In addition to the prison term, U.S. District Judge William J. Martini sentenced Then to one year of supervised release.
Carpenito credited special agents of the FBI with the investigation leading to the guilty pleas and sentences.
He also thanked the Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office, the Paterson Police Department – and, specifically, the department’s Office of Internal Affairs for their assistance in the investigation.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Rahul Agarwal, deputy chief of Carpenito’s Criminal Division, and Lee M. Cortes Jr., deputy chief of the Special Prosecutions Division handled the case.
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