NEW YORK (1010 WINS/WCBS 880) – A New Jersey State Trooper was charged for allegedly punching a handcuffed woman who was awaiting a medical evaluation in the face last year, the New Jersey District Attorney’s Office announced Friday.
Nicolas Hogan, 28, was charged with aggravated assault causing significant bodily injury on Wednesday in relation to the incident, which was investigated by the Office of Public Integrity and Accountability (OPIA).
“This alleged use of force appears to have been completely avoidable, and the degree of force used was unreasonable,” said Thomas Eicher, Executive Director of OPIA. “We cannot have police officers assaulting people in distress while they are restrained and posing no threat. It is uncalled for, unhelpful, improper, and unlawful.”
On Sept. 7, 2022, State Troopers responded to a report of a trespasser at a residence in Upper Deerfield Township, in Cumberland County, at 1:30 a.m.
As the troopers left the scene, they saw the victim walking in the middle of the road, inebriated, officials said.
The troopers identified the woman as the trespasser, as described by the caller. They stopped, determined she needed a medical evaluation, and called for medical personnel and additional troopers, the district attorney’s office said.
Hogan, of Gibbstown, was one of the additional law enforcement officials who responded.
The OPIA investigation showed that the victim was increasingly distraught at being detained, tried to leave, and troopers handcuffed her and placed her in a police car.
Body-camera footage showed mucus and fluids across her face, and she asked for a tissue but was never provided one, according to the investigation.
The victim had been spitting on the ground, due to being upset, and at one point spat in the direction of a trooper.
Hogan was standing on the other side of the car, opened the door, and said to the victim “If you f***ing spit on a trooper,” before the victim spat in his direction.
In response, Hogan allegedly socked the woman in the face while holding a flashlight. She was handcuffed and secured in the backseat, officials said.
“We will not allow situations like this one, in which, as alleged, force was used disproportionately and without justification against a vulnerable civilian in police restraints, to damage the reputation of our hardworking and admirable law enforcement community,” New Jersey Attorney General Matt Platkin said.
Third-degree charges, like what Hogan is facing, have a three to five year sentence and fine up to $15,000.
It was not disclosed when Hogan will return to court.