Ocean County Man Admits Federal Hate Crimes for Series of Violent Assaults on Members of Orthodox Jewish Community
NEWARK, N.J. – A Paterson Police Department officer today admitted using excessive force during two separate arrests, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced.
Kevin Patino, 32, of Wayne, New Jersey, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Esther Salas in Newark federal court to a superseding information charging him with two counts of violating an individual’s civil rights.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
On Nov. 26, 2020, Patino responded to a call for backup from another officer who was attempting to disperse a crowd of people on Main Street in Paterson. Patino observed the other officer engaged in a verbal exchange with the first victim. Patino directed the victim to move away from the officer, but the victim initially declined to do so. Patino then pushed the victim away from the other officer and the victim walked away from Patino. Patino also began to walk away but then returned to confront the victim, who did not pose a danger to Patino or anyone else, and pushed the victim into the street. Patino then grabbed the victim, threw the victim to the ground, and proceeded to repeatedly strike the victim while the victim was on the ground. Another police officer intervened while Patino was striking the victim and handcuffed the victim.
On Dec. 14, 2020, Patino responded with another officer in an unmarked police vehicle to a call regarding a suspicious person on Madison Avenue in Paterson. Patino, along with other officers, encountered an individual who appeared to be the person described in the call. While the officers were engaged with this individual, the second victim walked towards the officers and observed their interaction with the individual, before walking away. After the officers ended their encounter with the individual, Patino and another officer drove away in their unmarked police vehicle. The officer who was driving the unmarked vehicle then made a sharp turn towards the second victim, who was walking down the street, and parked the vehicle. Patino got out of the vehicle and struck the victim, who did not pose a danger to Patino or anyone else, in the face and body several times. After the other officer grabbed hold of the victim and brought the victim to the ground, Patino continued to repeatedly strike the victim.
Patino agreed that in each instance his repeated use of force against each victim was unreasonable and excessive, in violation of the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution.
Each violation of civil rights count carries a maximum penalty of one year in prison and a maximum fine of $100,000. Sentencing is scheduled for July 23, 2024.
U.S. Attorney Sellinger credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge James E. Dennehy in Newark; the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office, under the direction of Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin; the Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Prosecutor Camelia M. Valdes; and the North Jersey Public Corruption Task Force composed of members of FBI and New Jersey State Police.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Bernard J. Cooney of the Criminal Division and the Civil Rights Division’s Criminal Civil Rights Task Force, and Joseph Gribko, Deputy Chief of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Civil Rights Division.