What to Know
- An ex-NJ officer pleaded guilty to using excessive force in the arrests of two women, one of whom suffered broken ribs as a result
- Former Millville Officer Joseph Dixon twice slammed women to the ground while making arrests, breaking seven ribs in one woman
- Under the plea deal, the state will recommend Dixon is sentenced to a year behind bars along with probation
A former New Jersey police officer has pleaded guilty to using excessive force in the arrests of two women — one of whom suffered several broken ribs as a result, according to the state’s attorney general.
Joseph Dixon was charged with two counts of aggravated assault for the separate incidents in 2018.
“These guilty pleas reflect our resolve to ensure that law enforcement officers are held accountable if they use violent force against civilians without justification,” said Attorney General Gurbir Grewal. “When officers use force that has no reasonable relationship to any resistance or threat they face, as Dixon did, they not only injure and traumatize those involved, they do a tremendous disservice to all of their fellow officers.”
The first incident occurred during a DUI arrest in February 2018. The then- Millville Officer Dixon was attempting to handcuff the female driver who twice turned around and asked to call her husband. On the second time, Dixon grabbed the woman around the neck, flipped her over his extended leg and threw her to the ground, according to the attorney general, before dropping on top of her to handcuff her.
Dixon afterward ignored the woman’s claims he had broken her ribs and that she couldn’t breathe, as she requested to go to the hospital, the attorney general stated in a report. The disgraced officer told her that if she could talk, then she could breathe, and drove her to the police station instead.
During his use-of-force report, Dixon stated that no injuries had occurred, failing to mention the woman’s complaints, according to the attorney general. The woman in the case had actually suffered seven broken ribs, one of which had to be removed.
Less than a month later, Dixon got into another altercation while responding to a shoplifting call about a minor at a grocery store. The child’s mother had requested police release her child to her, but she did not have the proper identification in order for them to do so.
She started arguing with the officer who told her she would be under arrest as well, but was backing away from Dixon when he grabbed her upper body with both arms and flipped her over onto the floor, prosecutors said.
Once again, Dixon slammed onto the woman, this time using pepper spray on her while handcuffing her, according to the attorney general. He initially took the woman to the police station, but she was taken to the hospital as soon as she arrived after relatives called for an ambulance.
The woman suffered a bruised hip and burning in the eyes as a result of the pepper spray.
Under the plea deal, the state will recommend Dixon is sentenced to a year behind bars along with probation. He will also permanently be banned from law enforcement and other public employment in New Jersey.
Sentencing is for Dixon is scheduled for January 17, 2020.