A now-former Paterson police officer admitted in federal court in Newark on Wednesday that he beat a hospitalized attempted suicide victim -- while his partner recorded it -- and sold drugs that he stole from a crime scene.
For several weeks up to his arrest, 26-year-old Ruben McAusland admitted, he sold a government cooperator heroin made to look like Percoset pills, as well as two pounds of marijuana.He said he also sold the informant cocaine and crack -- all stolen from crime scenes while he was on the job.
McAusland, who lives in the city and joined the department nearly four years ago, also admitted beating an attempted suicide victim while his partner recorded it on a cellphone.
McAusland and his partner, Roger Then, 29, of Paterson, first responded to the March 5 at the victim's house but learned that he'd been transported to St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center in Paterson.
Finding the victim in a wheelchair in the hospital waiting room, McAusland said he pushed the victim, punched him in the face, grabbed him by the neck and threw him to the ground.
Once the patent had been taken to the room, both officers went there.
Then was recording on his cellphone as McAusland "put on a pair of hospital gloves and violently struck the victim twice across the face," U.S. Attorney Craig 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.
Then was arrested nearly a month ago on committing and concealing civil rights violations. He remains free pending further court action.
McAusland, who pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Newark on Wednesday, may be called to testify if Then's case goes to trial.
“McAusland’s conduct breached his duties as an officer of the law and violated the public trust,” Carpenito said. “He dealt drugs, stole from a crime scene, and viciously attacked an individual who contacted the Paterson Police Department rightfully expecting to receive assistance and protection from McAusland and his partner.
"The people of Paterson, and all of New Jersey, deserve better."
“Police officers take a solemn oath to uphold the law and to protect the public," added the Newark FBI field office's special agent in charge, Gregory W. Ehrie. "This officer not only violated his pledge but tarnished the reputation of all law enforcement by his grievous lawlessness."
McAusland's first drug sale to the government cooperator involved more than three ounces combined of crack and cocaine and more than an ounce of marijuana, all for only $50, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito said.
A month later, McAusland sold the informant a pound of pot for $2,500, followed by another pound, for $2,400, in January.
Over the course of several months, McAusland sold the cooperator “individual pills that were made to resemble Percocet doses but were actually made of heroin” for $7 a pill, the U.S. attorney said.
On Feb. 11, McAusland met the buyer in his police vehicle at a supermarket parking lot near Paterson police headquarters and gave him four sample heroin pills, Carpenito said.
Several times afterward, McAusland sold heroin pills to the cooperator, he said -- including 1,010 pills for $7,000 on April 1.
Carpenito credited the FBI with the arrest and thanked the Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office and Paterson police – including its internal affairs unit.
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