CAMDEN, N.J. — Three New Jersey police officers have been put on leave over a video showing one officer appearing to punch a suspect multiple times in the head.
Edward Minguela told NJ.com he was standing outside a liquor store in Camden on Thursday when he heard police screaming at him to put his hands up. He complied but was tackled. He said he also was punched about 12 times in the head.
Camden County spokesman Dan Keashen called the video troubling and said Tuesday the county prosecutor’s office is investigating. He said he’s unable to release the officers’ names because it is a personnel matter.
The grainy, black-and-white video shows Minguela with his hands in the air as police officers close in on him with guns drawn. As one officer apparently attempts to cuff him, they both topple to the ground. The officer gets to his knees as two others swarm Minguela, and the first officer begins repeatedly punching Minguela as he lay on the ground.
Keashen said the officers were responding to reports of a man with a gun and Minguela matched the description. Police never found a weapon in Minguela’s possession.
Minguela collected the surveillance video recording himself, shown first on WCAU-TV. He took it to the department when he filed an internal affairs complaint last week.
He said the officers took him to a hospital emergency room and released him there with two summons for resisting arrest and obstruction. He suffered a fractured wrist.
He said that was the first time the officers told him they had approached him because they believed he had a gun.
“I was like, ‘All right, you all could have just searched me, you didn’t have to beat me,'” he said.
Minguela said he is due in court Thursday to address the charges.
“I just don’t know what was going through their minds,” Minguela told NJ.com. “They shouldn’t be working if that’s how they treat the people they’re supposed to be protecting.”