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.
Because there is no parole in the federal prison system, 27-year-old Ruben McAusland of Paterson will have to serve just about all of the 66-month sentence handed down by U.S. District Judge William H. Walls.
Walls also sentenced McAusland to three years of supervised release and ordered him to pay $32,892 in restitution.
The sentencing "marks the important role that the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey plays in identifying and holding accountable officers of the law who breach their sworn duty to serve the public,” U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito said.
“Through prosecutions like this one, police officers like McAusland...are removed from positions where they can violate the public trust and deprive others of their civil rights under color of law," the U.S. attorney said. "The people of Paterson, and all of New Jersey, deserve better.”
As part of a plea deal with the government, McAusland admitted last June that he sold an FBI 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 joined the department nearly five years ago, also admitted beating an attempted suicide victim while his partner recorded it on a cellphone.
McAusland and his partner, Roger Then, also of Paterson, first responded to the victim's house but learned then 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 him and punched him in the face.
Then, 29, then grabbed the man by the neck and threw him to the ground.
Both officers then went to the room given to the patient.
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.
Like McAusland, cut a deal with the government, pleading guilty last December to concealing civil rights violations. He is scheduled to be sentenced April 2.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, 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.
In February 2018, 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.
Handling the case for the government is Assistant U.S. Attorney Rahul Agarwal, deputy chief of Carpenito's Criminal Division.
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