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PATERSON – City taxpayers could end up paying punitive damages in a case of excessive police violence that led to indictments against two police officers earlier this year.
The alleged victim, Osamah Alsaidi, this week filed a 31-page federal civil rights lawsuit accusing the officers of the attack and the city police department of negligence for failing to address wrongdoing and failing to adequately train and supervise their officers.
Security video of the encounter — cited as evidence by the United States Attorney’s Office in its indictment of the cops — shows Alsaidi being punched more than a dozen times by one of the officers in what his attorneys call an unprovoked assault.
The accused cops — Kevin Patino and Kendry Tineo-Restituyo — have been on paid leave for the past 18 months since their arrest by the FBI in spring 2021, officials said. According to federal court filings, the pending criminal case against them could go to trial next year.
The Alsaidi incident occurred in December 2020 amid a separate federal investigation that resulted in the conviction of eight Paterson police officers, as well as promises by local officials that city police officers would be held accountable.
However, Alsaidi’s lawsuit alleged that Paterson officers failed to protect the public from police misconduct, even after the other arrests.
“The Paterson Police Department has a long and recognized history of failing to meaningfully investigate wrongdoing and hold its police officers accountable,” the lawsuit said, which was filed by Akram Alsaidi, an attorney unrelated to the alleged victim. was submitted.
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“The Paterson Police Department and its Chief of Police and Commissioner of Police were aware, or should have been aware, but intentionally, of the appalling number of incidents involving violence and excessive violence by their officers, and particularly the accused named here indifferent or took no action to remedy the apparent lack of training and supervision,” the lawsuit reads.
According to Paterson Press in 2021, Tineo-Restituyo had been the target of five police internal affairs complaints and two from Patino prior to her incident with Alsaidi. Patino had filed 15 reports of use of force between 2018 and 2020, and Tineo-Restituyo filed eight.
The lawyer representing Tineo-Restituyo in the criminal case declined to comment on the lawsuit. Patino’s attorney could not be reached for comment.
Alsaidi’s attorney acknowledged that the allegations in the lawsuit in many ways mirror federal criminal charges against Patino and Tineo.
The lawsuit says Tineo-Restituyo and Patino were dressed in civilian clothes to investigate a matter unrelated to when they confronted Alsaidi and parked their unmarked police vehicle in his path. Officers pushed Alsaidi into a parked truck and Patino repeatedly punched him in the face and body, the lawsuit said.
Tineo-Restituyo then threw Alsaidi to the ground and officers beat him again, causing him to pass out, the lawsuit said.
Alsaidi’s civil suit goes beyond federal charges by charging a third Paterson officer, Bashir McKnight, with misconduct.
The lawsuit alleges McKnight drove Alsaidi from Paterson Police Department to St. Joseph’s University Medical Center, but then forced Alsaidi out of the hospital before he could see a doctor. The complaint accused McKnight of hitting Alsaidi near his police car but away from the hospital’s surveillance camera.
McKnight was not charged with any crime in the case. He remains on active duty.
City officials have a policy of not commenting on pending litigation. Alsaidi’s attorney said his client deserved compensation for the pain and suffering officers inflicted on him. The complaint does not identify a specific amount of money he is seeking in the lawsuit.
Lawyers familiar with the Alsaidi case said the alleged victim would benefit significantly in his lawsuit if Patino and Tineo were convicted in the criminal case.
Joe Malinconico is Editor of Paterson Press.
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