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Haledon man missing
Giovanni DeJesus opens up about his brother, Felix “Joel” DeJesus, who has been missing for two weeks. Wednesday February 16, 2022
Kevin R. Wexler, NorthJersey.com
PATERSON – The ongoing controversy over the disappearance of Felix DeJesus took a new turn early Sunday morning when a Paterson police officer involved in the case arrested the missing man’s brother at the scene of a domestic dispute.
The brother, Giovanni DeJesus, had called 911 when his wife, Crystal Garcia, prevented him from leaving their home to go for a walk, according to family attorney Jeff Patti.
The officer who knocked on her door in response to the call was Jacob Feliciano, the same officer who took Felix DeJesus into custody on Feb. 2, the night he went missing, the attorney said.
The DeJesus family has filed a civil lawsuit over DeJesus’s disappearance, which they say will likely name Feliciano as a defendant. Feliciano was one of two officers targeted in an internal affairs probe into the February 2 incident. The authorities have not released any information about the outcome of this IA investigation.
Patti said Garcia was shocked to see Feliciano outside her door early Sunday morning.
“She insisted that he withdraw from the matter because of the apparent conflict of interest,” Patti said. “He ignored that request.”
Related:Family attorney Felix DeJesus is suing Haledon, demanding missing persons records
The attorney said Giovanni DeJesus was eventually allowed to leave his home and Felciano followed him. Garcia told Paterson Press that her husband asked Feliciano for answers about what happened to his brother.
“‘Are you trying to hit me?'” Garcia said, Feliciano asking her husband. “‘That’s it, you’re under arrest,'” Garcia said in her account of the incident.
Patti and Garcia said Giovanni DeJesus made no threats against Feliciano. Garcia said her husband was accused of resisting the arrest, attack and terrorist threats. Garcia said she filed a new IA complaint against Feliciano early Sunday.
Multiple police sources confirmed that Feliciano arrested DeJesus early Sunday while responding to an 911 call about a domestic dispute. Paterson Public Safety Director Jerry Speziale declined to comment, citing the confidentiality of domestic cases and IA investigations.
“We must follow the process according to AG (Attorney General) guidelines,” Speziale said. “I have to follow the process.”
Paterson Press asked city officials for copies of the body camera video footage worn by Feliciano and other officials responding to Sunday morning’s domestic dispute. Officials asked this reporter to file a public record request for the recordings. These requests are usually only processed on weekdays.
Feliciano and then-partner Dodi Zorrila handcuffed Felix DeJesus and put him in the back seat of their Paterson police cruiser on the night of February 2 after he became involved in a bodega. This is shown by their bodycam recordings.
But officers turned off the recording equipment while DeJesus was still in their care. Authorities and DeJesus family members say the cops dropped Felix DeJesus near Westside Park. Haledon Police – who are conducting the missing persons investigation – said five people “congregated” with DeJesus at the park that evening.
But he hasn’t appeared since then.