Bayonne Police Officer Charged With Filing False Report Related To Use Of Excessive Force During Arrest
NEWARK, N.J. – A Bayonne, New Jersey, police officer was charged today with falsifying records to conceal the use of excessive force during an arrest, Acting U.S. Attorney William E. Fitzpatrick announced.
Francis Styles, 36, of Bayonne, is charged by indictment with one count of falsifying records in a federal investigation and one count of misprision of a felony for his role in attempting to conceal actions taken by former Bayonne police officer Domenico Lillo during an arrest in which Styles, Lillo and others participated. Styles’ arraignment is pending.
According to the indictment:
In the late afternoon of Dec. 27, 2013, Styles, Lillo and another Bayonne police officer went to an address in Bayonne to execute a Sussex County arrest warrant. After the individual was handcuffed and no longer physically resisting arrest, Lillo struck the individual with a flashlight, which resulted in bodily injury requiring hospital treatment.
However, the incident report filed by Styles omitted that Lillo struck the individual in the face with the flashlight, falsely asserted that the individual continued to violently struggle as he was being led to the patrol vehicle, and falsely asserted that the individual sustained injuries as a result of hitting the wall and the ground.
The charge of falsifying records carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison. The charge of misprision of felony carries a potential penalty of three years in prison.
The charges and allegations in the indictment are merely accusations, and Styles is considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.
Lillo previously pleaded guilty to deprivation of civil rights under color of law, falsifying records to impede a civil rights investigation, and assisting in the filing of a false report to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. He awaits sentencing.
Acting U.S. Attorney Fitzpatrick credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Timothy Gallagher in Newark, and special agents of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of the Inspector General, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Christina Scaringi, with the investigation. He also thanked the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office and the Bayonne Police Department for their assistance.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jacques S. Pierre of the Special Prosecutions Division and Assistant U.S. Attorney Bruce P. Keller of the Appeals Division.
Defense counsel: John D. Arseneault Esq. Chatham, New Jersey