New Jersey

Another Northern New Jersey Police Officer Faces Civil Rights Charge: Prosecutors

What to Know

  • Another Paterson cop was accused of stopping vehicles, detaining occupants and searching autos without justification, sometimes taking cash
  • Daniel Pent, 32, was arrested by FBI on complaint charging him with conspiring to deprive individuals of civil rights under color of law
  • Pent faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted

Another officer with a northern New Jersey police department has been accused of stopping vehicles, detaining the occupants and searching the vehicles without justification, sometimes also taking cash and other items.

Daniel Pent, 32 and a Paterson resident, was arrested Tuesday at police headquarters by FBI agents on a complaint charging him with conspiring to deprive individuals of civil rights under color of law. 

According to documents, Pent and other Paterson police officers allegedly stopped and searched vehicles, without any justification, and stole cash and other items from the occupants of the motor vehicles. Pent and others also illegally stopped and searched individuals in buildings or on the streets of Paterson and seized cash from those individuals, according to federal prosecutors in New Jersey.

On Feb. 1, 2017, Pent and another officer stopped and searched a vehicle in Paterson, detained and handcuffed the occupants, and stole approximately $10,000 from one of the occupants, prosecutors say. Pent allegedly told the other officer that either they should take all of the money or they should take none of it, and they chose to take all of it.

The two cops split the money between themselves and subsequently arrested the victim and charged the victim with loitering in a drug area, prosecutors say. Pent then filled out a prisoner property report for the victim that falsely stated that the victim had approximately $36 on his person and submitted an incident report in which both cops omitted the fact that they had located, and seized, $10,000 from the victim, according to prosecutors.

Pent faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted. He has been suspended without pay for 30 days and, after that, will be placed on paid administrative leave until the charges are resolved.

Attorney information for Pent was not immediately known.

Pent’s case is just one of a number of recent instances where Paterson officers find themselves facing charges.

Last Thursday, a Paterson police officer was accused of violating people’s civil rights in an elaborate scheme using code words to steal their cash, prosecutors say. This same cop was was previously charged in a separate criminal complaint last April, conspiring to deprive people of their civil rights under color of law, prosecutors said.

In December 2018, officer Jonathan Bustios admitted to conspiring with other cops to violate individuals’ civil rights and to personally accepting a firearm in exchange for reducing the charges of an arrestee, according to prosecutors.

On May 30, a police officer was arrested for allegedly assaulting a patient at a Paterson hospital, recording the incident on his cellphone and failing to include the assault in the related police report.

On April 20, another Paterson police officer was arrested and charged with distributing drugs and possessing them with the intent to distribute.

U.S. Attorney for New Jersey Craig Carpenito credited the FBI, the Passaic County Prosecutor's Office, the Paterson Police Department, under the direction of Paterson Police Director Jerry Speziale and Police Chief Troy Oswald, and the Paterson Police Department Office of Internal Affairs, for their assistance in the investigation that led to Pent's arrest.

Paterson Police Director Jerry Speziale and Chief of Police Troy Oswald did not immediately respond to email request seeking comment.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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