From [HERE] An white Elizabeth police officer is being accused of beating, choking and dragging a handcuffed suspect in the department's headquarters.
Officer Edward Shields was indicted Friday on a simple assault charge by a grand jury, Union County Prosecutor's Office spokesman Mark Spivey said. An earlier grand jury was presented with the case in April, but no charges were brought, Spivey said.
Shields, who's been with the department for over 10 years, has been suspended without pay according to Ruby Contreras, spokesman for Elizabeth Police Department Department.
The incident occurred Sept. 29, 2017 during the arrest of Raul Tornes, 27, of Elizabeth after Tornes had a dispute with his girlfriend, Tornes' attorney, Josh McMahon said. Spivey said Tornes was handcuffed and brought to the station for questioning related to an unspecified investigation.
In an edited and annotated video provided to NJ Advance Media, Shields and other officers are seen dragging, choking, hitting and kneeing Tornes in the head as he yells out, "I am not resisting." Tornes also tells the officers that he has problems with his shoulder.
In the video, none of the officers in the station, including an officer on duty at the desk, tried to stop Shields or the other officers during the incident. A woman, identified on the video as Shield's wife, also does not try to stop Shields.
The officers drag Tornes past several empty cells, but don't place him in one.
NJ Advance Media filed an open public records request with the Elizabeth Police Department for an unedited version of the video to see what happened before or after the events shown. However, the request for the videos, which appears to be from an officer's body cam and surveillance cameras in the department's headquarters, was denied. Union County Prosecutor Michael A. Mohanan said the footage is considered a criminal investigatory record under New Jersey law.
McMahon also would not provide an unedited version of the video.
Court documents show that the dismissed charges against Tornes included harassment, throwing bodily fluids on a police officer and attempting through physical menace to put another in fear of serious bodily injury.
In the criminal complaint, Elizabeth Police Officer George Lias claimed that Tornes, in his vehicle, chased his girlfriend in her car and then banged on her window when she stopped.
Lias wrote that the struggle in the station -- when Tornes was accused of spitting in Shields face -- began because Tornes was "yelling and refusing to sit calmly."
"We have the Elizabeth Police Department continuing its systematic abuse of civil rights," McMahon said, "from framing an innocent All-American to a drunk police officer killing a young dad and now we have an out-of-control cop that viciously beats handcuffed citizens."
The 'innocent All-American' McMahon is referring to is Khasem Greene, the former NFL player who had the charges against him dismissed after a shooting in an Elizabeth night club. Romulo Maneses-Alvarez is the former Elizabeth police officer who was found guilty of killing Jairo Lozano while driving drunk. McMahon represented both men.
The edited video, which has the name of McMahon's law firm -- Schiller McMahon -- in the corner, also claims that Shields has filed more than 50 use of force reports, most involving minorities. Officials did not confirm that claim.
Tornes filed an internal affairs complaint against Shields in October accusing him of false arrest, false detention, police brutality, false police reports and bringing false charges. In a separate complaint against Sgt. Rodney Dorilus filed in April, Tornes accused the officer of witness tampering. According to a letter from the prosecutor, provided by McMahon, Dorilus has since been banned from having contact with the public.
McMahon said Tornes is also considering a civil suit.
Two other violent incidents involving Elizabeth police surfaced recently. Earlier this year, the city of Elizabeth agreed to pay a $250,000 settlement to a Philadelphia man who was beaten, kicked and stepped on by several officers during an arrest stemming from a 2013 traffic stop, according to city and court documents.
The officers denied Wright's claims in court documents. The city and officers did not admit fault in the settlement.
In 2016, Union County Prosecutor's determined that an Elizabeth police detective was legally justified in firing two shots while trying to subdue a man with a pistol outside a restaurant last year, county prosecutors announced Thursday.