On Wednesday the FBI arrested two Patterson, New Jersey police officers for civil rights violations.
On at least two different occasions these officers were involved with traffic stops that involved illegal searches of vehicles. The officers even allowed criminals to get away in exchange for cash and weapons, all without warrants.
The Department of Justice reports that Officers Jonathan Bustios, 28, and Eudy Ramos, 31 of the Paterson Police Department are charged with conspiring to deprive individuals of civil rights under color of law.
Bustios faces an additional charge of extortion under color of official right, according to a release by the U.S. Attorney's Office.
Bustios' additional charge stems from an incident in March 2018 where he arrested and held a suspect in the back of a patrol car, telling the suspect he wouldn't be arrested if he allowed Bustios to keep the money the suspect had in possession in exchange for a gun, the suspect agreed to the deal and Bustios released the suspect while keeping the suspect's gun.
Perhaps Bustios and Ramos got their training from Denzel Washington in the movie "Training Day".
The Paterson Police Department brought the case first to the Passaic County Prosecutor's Office and then to the FBI.
The Paterson Police Department learned of the alleged misconduct through an early warning intervention system implemented at the department, which flags irregularities, use of force reports and civilian complaints. The system flagged Bustios and Ramos about a year ago.
After investigating Bustios and Ramos, the FBI alleges that the officers stopped cars, detained the occupants and then searched their vehicles without any reason and would take money and other items before letting the occupants go.
During one instance in February 2018, Bustios pulled a BMW over, stopping behind the vehicle while Ramos pulled in front. Both officers allegedly exited their cars and searched the front, back and trunk of the BMW while detaining the people in Ramos' car, according to the complaint.
Bustios allegedly left the scene for 10 minutes after searching the BMW before stopping his car and taking out a white plastic bag filled with money and a gun that belonged to the occupants of the BMW.
Bustios called Ramos, who released the two occupants, and Ramos went to meet Bustios. Bustios gave some of the money to Ramos and the officers turned in the gun the next day, the complaint states.
When they turned in the gun, they said they had recovered the gun after a tip from a "concerned citizen," the complaint said.
But there was no tip and they failed to report to the department that they had stopped and searched the BMW, held its occupants in the back of a patrol car and taken money, all while failing to have warrants, the complaint states.
The FBI moved in to make the arrest of Bustios and Ramos on Wednesday morning.
Police Director Jerry Speziale says:
"This is something we will not stand for. This is something we will not tolerate. And if you are a criminal wearing a badge, you will go to jail and we will investigate you to the fullest, no matter what resources we have to reach out for."