Teen testifies against Carteret police officer accused of punching him

CARTERET, New Jersey (WABC) -- A teenager testified against a New Jersey police officer Tuesday, saying the officer punched him repeatedly in a violent confrontation.

In May 2017, Carteret Police Officer Joseph Reiman stopped 16-year-old Monte Stewart, who admits he took his father's car without permission and crashed it.

As Reiman tried to pull him over, the officer did not turn on his body camera. But his dashcam captured him landing several punches on Stewart, who was arrested.

When his father saw his son's face at the police lockup, he insisted he be taken to Robert Wood Johnson Hospital. The teen was bloody and bruised, his eyes swollen shut.

In court Tuesday, Reiman's attorney Charles Sciarra said it was obvious the officer was trying to arrest the teen and get him handcuffed.

He played parts of the tape and asked Stewart about his injuries.

The teen said he could not put his hands behind his back because he was too busy defending himself from all the punches being landed on his face.

"At this juncture, you weren't going to let him put your hands behind your back, right?", said Sciarra.

"I was trying to defend myself sir," said Stewart. "I had my hands in front of my face and he kept trying to grab me and kept punching my face."

Officer Reiman was suspended with pay and charged with crimes including aggravated assault. Stewart filed an internal affairs complaint and the case is now before a jury.

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