Two Paterson cops are facing federal charges for allegedly beating a man late last year and then falsifying their arrest report to suggest the victim had attacked them instead.
Federal prosecutors say Officers Kevin Patino and Kendry Tineo-Restituyo approached Osamah Alsaidi in the early hours of Dec. 14, when Patino allegedly grabbed him and struck him repeatedly. Tineo-Restituyo then allegedly threw Alsaidi to the ground, where both cops struck him further.
Subsequently, prosecutors allege, the officers filed a report claiming the victim had been screaming and belligerent and struck Patino in the chest.
"None of this was true," the U.S. Attorney's Office in New Jersey said in a statement.
Video of the incident was posted to Instagram and viewed tens of thousands of times, spurring angry calls for some sort of action against the cops. State and county prosecutors confirmed in mid-February they were probing the attack on Alsaidi, who suffered a concussion and blurry vision afterward.
Alsaidi previously maintained that he was walking to his car to go to work when officers approached and began punching him “for no reason.” He was charged with aggravated assault on a police officer, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.
Alsaidi told News 4 in February that that's not what happened, and while it's unclear what occurred before the video he posted, the footage does not appear to match the report.
Both officers face civil rights and false records charges, which carry up to 20 years in prison if convicted.
In a statement on behalf of Alsaidi, his attorneys said they "are very pleased to see that the United States Attorney's Office has filed criminal charges against the officers who assaulted our client and then lied about it in their reports.
"We understand that this is just the first step in obtaining justice for Mr. Alsaidi, but it is an important one," the statement goes on to say. "As we see this happening across the country, we hope that what happened to Osamah and the subsequent prosecution of these officers will contribute to the growing national dialogue on police reform."
Meanwhile, in a separate statement, Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael Honig said: “Police officers who abuse their positions to exert power over and injure the citizens they are supposed to protect violate our Constitution and erode trust in our public institutions."
With these arrests, at least 10 Paterson cops have now faced federal charges in the last couple of years. (A number of them were arrested in 2019 and 2020 in a wide-ranging corruption probe.)