A New Jersey police officer seen on a video smiling as his partner beat a hospitalized man will now be spending the next six months in federal prison.
A federal judge sentenced Paterson police officer Roger Then this week for helping to cover up the assault of his partner, a brutal attack that Then captured on video which has gone viral in recent weeks. As NJ.com reported, U.S. District Judge William H. Walls sent Then to prison and added a year of supervised release for his role in the attack and the cover-up that followed.
The 29-year-old Then was accused of pushing the patient, who was in the hospital after attempting suicide. He pleaded guilty to a charge of misprision of felony for covering up the attack from his partner, Ruben McAusland.
Both police officers had been called to St. Joseph's Regional Medical Center on March 5, 2018, to monitor the man who had just attempted suicide. Surveillance video showed McAusland punching the man in the face near a hospital admissions desk, and a video Then later captured inside the man's hospital room allegedly showed McAusland strike the man in the face two times, spraying blood across the wall and hospital bed.
The man was restrained and unable to protect himself from the attack. His injuries were so severe that he had to undergo surgery on his eye, NJ.com reported. Investigators said the police officers then filed an incident report that did not mention their assault.
Prosecutors said they did not know why the police officers chose to beat the supposedly suicidal man.
"I still don't have a valid explanation as to why he would record the second attack, but then he falsely reported to the Paterson Police Department what happened," Steven Greene, an attorney for the patient who was assaulted, told News 12 New Jersey.
Video of the attack was released during the trial, prompting a nationwide pushback against the officers, with many calling for them to face stiff penalties for an attack on a helpless patient.Ruben McAusland has already been sentenced to more than five years in prison for the assault and for selling drugs he had stolen from a crime scene. McAusland was also ordered to pay $32,892 in restitution. The victim, identified as Andrew Casciano, has filed a $4 million lawsuit against the city of Paterson, ABC 7 New York reported. Attorneys for the victim said he is still suffering the effects of the attack and will have a long recovery ahead of him.