Newark police officer indicted in excessive force case

May 3, 2010 5:48:29 PM PDT
A Newark police officer has been indicted, accused of using excessive force while arresting a 15-year-old boy. "It's shocking to me. Out of everyone why me?" Travis Rattrey said.

Rattrey, a 15-year old honors student, had his dreadlocks yanked out of his scalp, his lips pierced by his metal braces, after he says Newark police detective Angel Pered attacked him after frisking him and finding nothing.

Detective Pered was indicted on charges of aggravated assault and use of excessive force on Monday.

"If any officer makes a mistake, we will do what we have to do to bring that officer to justice," Garry McCarthy, Newark police director, said.

The entire incident was captured on a surveillance camera. Eyewitness News aired it exclusively, sparking an investigation and now an indictment of the officer.

On the night of March 24, Travis was listening to his iPod outside his grandmother's building on Spruce Street when a friend tossed him a set of earphones. That prompted undercover Detective Pered to check Travis' pockets. He found nothing. When Travis says he went to hike up his pants, Detective Pered unloaded, shoving the 120-pound 10th grader into a glass door so hard it shattered.

"Right before he hit me, he said this kid has a smart mouth. As he was patting me down, he just swung," Rattrey said.

Pered is charged with falsifying police records. Officer Pered's attorney fired back on Monday, alleging that Travis was involved with drug dealers and that his client thought the teen was reaching for a gun.

"This kid was a lookout in the area," Anthony Fusco said.

If convicted, Detective Pered faces more than twenty years in prison.