TRENTON, N.J. – Three current and former Ewing Township Police Department officers were indicted by a grand jury on civil rights charges for their roles in assaulting a minor victim during the course of an arrest, Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig announced today.
Michael Delahanty, 51, of Robbinsville, New Jersey, a retired Ewing Township Police lieutenant; and Matthew Przemieniecki, 43, of Hamilton, New Jersey, and Justin Ubry, 33, of Burlington, New Jersey, both current Ewing Township police officers, are charged in a two-count indictment with deprivation of rights under color of law. Delahanty and Przemieniecki are charged in Count One with a felony offense of deprivation of rights under color of law causing bodily injury, and Ubry is charged in Count Two with a misdemeanor offense of deprivation of rights under color of law. Delahanty, Przemieniecki, and Ubry surrendered this morning and are scheduled to appear by videoconference this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Tonianne J. Bongiovanni.
According to the indictment:
At approximately 8:15 a.m., on Jan. 5, 2018, more than a dozen police officers responded to a report of a stolen vehicle in Ewing Township. Officers located the vehicle, which had crashed, and saw the driver of the vehicle running from the scene. Shortly thereafter, officers located the driver, a minor, in a detached shed on a residential property, removed the minor from the shed, and laid him face down on the snow-covered ground. While other officers handcuffed the victim, Delahanty used his boot to step on the back of the victim’s head, pressing his face into the snow. Przemieniecki kicked snow three times directly into the victim’s face, and Ubry also kicked snow directly into the victim’s face. Przemieniecki then used his boot to step on the victim’s head, again driving his face into the snow. The victim did not resist law enforcement at any time while on the ground. Under the circumstances, the force that defendants Delahanty, Przemieniecki, and Ubry applied to the victim was unreasonable and excessive and violated the victim’s constitutional right to be free from such force.
The felony civil rights charge against Delahanty and Przemieniecki carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000. The misdemeanor civil rights charge against Ubry carries a maximum penalty of one year in prison and a maximum fine of $100,000.
Acting U.S. Attorney Honig credited special agents of the FBI Trenton Resident Agency, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge George M. Crouch Jr. in Newark, with the investigation leading to the charges.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Martha K. Nye of the Criminal Division in Trenton, and Senior Civil Rights Counsel R. Joseph Gribko of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Criminal Division in Newark.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office and the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office recently announced the Civil Rights Criminal Enforcement Initiative, a federal-state partnership that will enhance coordination in the investigation and prosecution of federal, state, and local cases involving civil rights violations by law enforcement officers and others acting under color of law. It combines resources from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Attorney General’s Office of Public Integrity and Accountability, and the FBI in a cooperative approach to criminal civil rights enforcement. The charges and allegations contained in the indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.