By: Richard L. Smith
Kevin Patino, a 32-year-old Wayne resident and officer from the Paterson Police Department, has pleaded guilty to two counts of violating civil rights through the use of excessive force during arrests. The plea was entered before U.S. District Judge Esther Salas in Newark federal court, as U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced.
The charges stem from two separate incidents in late 2020. The first incident occurred on November 26, when Patino responded to a backup call on Main Street in Paterson.
After a confrontation, Patino forcefully pushed a victim into the street, threw him to the ground, and repeatedly struck him while another officer intervened and handcuffed the victim.
The second incident took place on December 14, involving Patino and another officer who, after responding to a call about a suspicious person, aggressively approached and assaulted a bystander on Madison Avenue, beating him significantly before bringing him to the ground.
In court, Patino acknowledged that his actions during these arrests were unreasonable and excessive, constituting a violation of the Fourth Amendment rights of the individuals involved.
This admission underscores the gravity of the misuse of force by law enforcement officials.
The guilty plea brings attention to the ongoing issues of police misconduct and the importance of accountability within law enforcement agencies.
Each count of civil rights violations carries a maximum sentence of one year in prison and a fine of up to $100,000, with sentencing scheduled for July 23, 2024.
Federal officials said this case serves as a critical reminder of the need for ethical conduct and restraint in the exercise of police authority.