The suspect is handcuffed and in custody. In fact, he has nowhere to run seeing how he is in the belly of the beast, the police station. He’s calm and not combative.
Raul Tornes is doing exactly what cop apologists swear will end police brutality: he is complying.
But that did not stop a New Jersey police officer from hitting him and dragging him through the police station. The best part was that it was caught on surveillance cameras, leading to an indictment against the cop.
Elizabeth police officer Edward Shields received his indictment Friday on a simple assault charge by a grand jury. That is the second time a grand jury convened in this case. They were unable to bring any charges against Shields back in April, said Union County Prosecutor’s Office spokesman Mark Spivey.
Elizabeth police spokesperson Ruby Contreras says that Shields is currently on unpaid suspension. He has been with the department more than 10 years.
It all started on September 29, 2017 when Tornes was having an argument with his girlfriend. At some point, police were called.
When officers arrive at the residence, the 27-year-old Tornes was handcuffed and transported to the police station. According to his attorney, Josh McMahon, Tornes was interrogated on an unrelated matter.
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 video shows the Jersey officer dragging Tornes through the station while striking him. Tornes is dragged by several open and empty cells but is not placed in one.
The Elizabeth Police Department has refused to release the unedited video as requested by NJ Advance Media. Union County Prosecutor Michael A. Mohanan said the footage is considered a criminal investigatory record under New Jersey law. Tornes’ attorney has also refused to release the video of the encounter.
Court documents reveal that the charges against Tornes were dropped. The charges included harassment, throwing bodily fluids on a police officer and attempting through physical menace to put another in fear of serious bodily injury.
Officers alleged that Tornes drove after his girlfriend as she drove away. When she finally stopped, he allegedly began banging on the car window.
According to Elizabeth police officer George Lias, Tornes initiated the confrontation. He supposedly began “yelling and refusing to sit calmly.” EPD refuses to release video or body cam footage corroborating that claim.
“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 attorney referenced Khasem Greene, the former NFL player who had the charges against him dismissed after a shooting in an Elizabeth night club, and Romulo Maneses-Alvarez, the former Elizabeth police officer who was found guilty of killing Jairo Lozano while driving drunk. Both were represented by McMahon.
In October, Tornes filed an internal affairs complaint against Shields. He was claiming false arrest, false detention, police brutality, false police reports and bringing false charges. Shields reportedly filed more than 50 use of force reports, most of which involved minorities. Tornes is also considering filing a civil suit against the New Jersey officer.