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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of New Jersey

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Paterson Police Officer Sentenced to 66 Months in Prison for Assaulting Hospital Patient, Distributing Narcotics

NEWARK, N.J. – A City of Paterson police officer was sentenced today to 66 months in prison for violating an individual’s civil rights by assaulting him at a hospital and repeatedly distributing narcotics, including drugs he stole from a crime scene while on duty, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.  

Ruben McAusland, 27, of Paterson, pleaded guilty on June 27, 2018, before U.S. District Judge William H. Walls to an information charging him with possessing with intent to distribute narcotics and deprivation of civil rights under color of law. Judge Walls imposed the sentence today in Newark federal court.

“Today’s sentencing of Ruben McAusland marks the important role that the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey plays in identifying and holding accountable officers of the law who breach their sworn duty to serve the public,” U.S. Attorney Carpenito said.  “Through prosecutions like this one, police officers like McAusland – who dealt drugs, stole from a crime scene, and viciously attacked a person who sought help from the Paterson Police Department – are removed from positions where they can violate the public trust and deprive others of their civil rights under color of law. We will continue to vigilantly pursue these cases, recognizing that the people of Paterson, and all of New Jersey, deserve better.”  

“The facts of this case are especially troubling to those of us in law enforcement,” Special Agent in Charge Gregory W. Ehrie of the Newark FBI Field Office said. “When an officer betrays the oath to protect and serve, it tarnishes the law enforcement community and puts the public at risk. The FBI prides itself on having a solid working relationship with our state and local law enforcement partners. But by no means will we look the other way if an officer or agent of the law is breaking the rules that he or she is sworn to uphold.” 

According to documents filed in this and another case, and statements made in court:

Between October 2017 and April 2018, McAusland sold various types and quantities of narcotics to an individual who was cooperating with law enforcement. In October 2017, McAusland sold the individual approximately 35 grams of marijuana, 48 grams of heroin, 31 grams of cocaine, and 31 grams of crack cocaine. McAusland admitted that he stole these narcotics from a crime scene while on duty and in uniform as a police officer. 

McAusland also sold the individual two pounds of marijuana between November 2017 and January 2018. In addition, on multiple occasions between February 2018 and April 2018, McAusland sold pills that were made to resemble Percocet doses but were actually made of heroin. 

    On March 5, 2018, McAusland and his partner, Roger Then, 29, of Paterson, were on duty and responded to a call from an attempted suicide victim. McAusland and Then went to the victim’s house but were told the victim had been transported to St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Paterson.

    McAusland first met the victim, who was in a wheelchair, in the hospital waiting room. McAusland admitted that during the encounter, he pushed the victim and punched him in the face. In addition, Then allegedly grabbed the victim by the neck and pushed him into the ground. Afterwards, the victim was taken to a patient room. 

    McAusland and Then had another encounter with the victim in the hospital room, which Then recorded on his cellphone. McAusland admitted that, while the victim was on his back in a hospital bed, he put on a pair of hospital gloves and violently struck the victim twice across the face. 

    McAusland and Then filed a false police report in connection with the foregoing events. McAusland admitted that they purposely omitted from the report the fact that McAusland violently struck the victim multiple times and that Then grabbed the victim by the neck and pushed him into the ground. 

    The victim suffered multiple injuries to his face, including an eye injury that required surgery, as a result of these assaults.  

In addition to the prison term, Judge Walls sentenced McAusland to three years of supervised release and ordered him to pay restitution of $32,892.

Then pleaded guilty before Judge Walls on Dec. 6, 2018, to one count of misprision of felony for concealing civil rights violations. He is scheduled to be sentenced April 2, 2019.

U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Gregory W. Ehrie in Newark, with the investigation leading to today’s plea. He also thanked the Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Passaic County Prosecutor Camelia M. Valdes, the Paterson Police Department, under the direction of Paterson Police Director Jerry Speziale and Police Chief Troy Oswald, and the Paterson Police Department Office of Internal Affairs, for their assistance in the investigation.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Rahul Agarwal, Deputy Chief of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division.

Civil Rights
Public Corruption
Press Release Number: 
Updated April 4, 2019