Camden, New Jersey is one of the most dangerous cities in America due to its high levels of crime and poverty. Violent crimes are especially common and problematic in this area. The Camden County Police have to patrol this city, which is not an easy job. However, there are many times when they abuse their authority thinking corruption will not be uncovered in an area with such a severe crime problem. As recent events show, police brutality can be discovered and victims do receive a measure of justice.
Federal Charges Filed against Camden County Officer
The charges stem from an incident where Officer Nicholas Romantino of the Camden County Police had punched a man in the head multiple times, then filed a false police report to cover up his wrongdoing. The local prosecutor had declined to file criminal charges shortly after the incident, but a federal grand jury has recently returned an indictment against Romantino. He is facing felony charges for civil rights violations and falsifying police records, which have maximum sentences of ten and twenty years respectively.
The indictment explains that Officer Romantino was on routine patrol when he received a call about a possible armed man in the Fairview section of Camden. When Romantino and other officers arrived on the scene, the victim complied with their requests to put his hands up and be taken into custody. Romantino then startled the victim by trying to pull his arms from behind, and he responded further by throwing the victim to the ground. After the officers were clearly in control of the man on the ground, Romantino proceeded to punch the victim in the back of the head several times. Both the victim and Romantino were eventually treated at the local hospital after sustaining injuries. The fraudulent report that the officer filed stated that the victim had been trying to lift himself off of the ground, so additional force was required to keep him under control. The attorney for the victim was quoted as saying that officers like Romantino have no place in the community alongside the many local officers who carry out their duties every day with dignity and respect.
Police Brutality can happen to anyone
Especially in high crime areas such as Camden County, it is possible for officers to engage in this kind of behavior and abuse their authority. There is an expectation that most of their encounters are with violent criminals who deserve punishment, which is not necessarily true. Everything from false arrests and reports, to physical violence, to improper handling of dangerous situations falls under the wide umbrella of police misconduct. While this case against Romantino concluded with some serious criminal charges being filed, many police handle similar situations improperly all the time without reprimand. It is important to contact an attorney when someone is victimized by the police.
How to get Help from a Lawyer
Lawyers can use multiple forms of evidence to build a case against an officer who engages in various forms of misconduct. The department that the officer works for is also sued in most civil cases, as the department is also liable in a civil lawsuit if the officer was on duty. In current times, pictures and videos from phones and surveillance cameras make it easier to collect information about police misconduct. Certain departments also have procedures in place to record officers’ activities, which can be helpful during a lawyer’s investigation into alleged misconduct.
To begin the process of receiving a monetary judgment or filing charges against an officer, contact a local attorney who is licensed in New Jersey and practices in Camden County. A lawyer who has prevailed in cases of police brutality can assist you and make sure you are compensated appropriately. Do not let corrupt police officers abuse their power.