Cops allegedly threatened kids' lives

August 13, 2008 3:53:19 PM PDT
A grand jury has indicted three New Jersey police officers who allegedly threatened the lives of two juveniles after rocks were thrown at a police cruiser in May.Essex County Prosecutor Paula Dow announced the 23-count indictment against three East Orange police officers on Wednesday.

According to Essex County Assistant Prosecutor Peter Sepulveda, at around midnight on May 31, officers Jon Cato and Hakim Davis entered the second floor apartment of 27 Beech Street with their guns drawn. The officers apparently entered the location searching for juveniles who threw rocks at their police vehicle.

Upon entering the second floor apartment, officer Davis allegedly grabbed one of the 17-year-old victims and punched him twice in the face, while officer Cato allegedly pointed a firearm at the chest of the second juvenile.

The officers allegedly led both of the victims out of the apartment to the front porch. At that time, the officers are accused of ordering both juveniles to lay face down on the ground. Officer Davis allegedly put his firearm on one of the victim's face, and when the juvenile began to talk, the officer placed the firearm inside of his mouth, threatening to kill him.

According to several witnesses, officer Dave Sheridan, who was called to the scene for backup, stood on the porch during the course of the events. Sheridan allegedly ordered other individuals away from the scene and failed to provide assistance to the juveniles or prevent the actions of officers Davis and Cato.

Neither of the juveniles was arrested by the officers. Two other juveniles, ages 16 and 15, were arrested that night, but the charges were later dismissed.

Authorities say the 31-year-old Cato, a five-year veteran of the police force, was charged with two counts of kidnapping, one count of aggravated assault, eight counts of official misconduct, conspiracy to commit official misconduct, falsifying records and tampering with public records.

The 34-year-old Davis, also a five-year veteran of the organization, was charged with two counts of kidnapping, one count of terroristic threats, eight counts of official misconduct, conspiracy to commit official misconduct, falsifying records and tampering with public records.

Sheridan, 24 and a two-year veteran, was charged with two counts of official misconduct and one count of conspiracy to commit official misconduct.

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WEB PRODUCED BY: Bill King

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