A Bridgeton police officer was charged with charges relating to an alleged assault involving pepper spray in June 2017.
John Grier, III, 49, of Cedarville faces one count of violating an individual’s civil rights and falsifying a file for submitting a false police report on the assault, According to Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael Honig.
Grier surrendered Thursday morning and was brought to justice. He was released on $ 50,000 bail.
Authorities say that on June 18, 2017, police officers from Bridgeton were sent to a gas station for a report of two men shouting at people. When an officer arrived, the two men were located in a car and Grier arrived as a backup officer. Reports indicate that these two men received summons and Grier left. A few minutes later, an officer radioed for help as the two approached an officer. On Grier’s return, he grabbed a large can of OC (pepper) spray.
Honig’s office said police eventually had probable cause to arrest one of the men (the victim) for impaired driving.
The count continues,
The officers approached the car to arrest the victim. Grier got out of his car with the large OC spray in hand and told another officer to “back up”, despite the officer having almost finished handcuffing the victim. While holding the OC spray, Grier asked the victim “Do you want to feel pain, sir?” Other officers were able to handcuff the victim without incident.
As an officer attempted to place the handcuffed victim in the back of a patrol vehicle, Grier sprayed the victim in the face. The victim doubled. An officer helped the victim up and sat him on the edge of the back seat of the police SUV. Grier then sprayed the victim a second time. After the second burst of OC spray on his face, Grier asked the driver “there, how do you like it now?” Now get in that fucking car. “
Honig says Grier filed a false police report saying the victim “refused [to enter the police vehicle] and continued to stay forcibly outside the vehicle ”, and, to falsely justify the use of pepper spray a second time, stated that“ the spray did not hit [the victim] opposite and that it did not take effect immediately[.]”
If convicted on both counts, Grier faces decades in prison and hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines.
Speaking of the case, FBI Newark Special Agent George M. Crouch, Jr., said, “Civil rights violations are a matter of great concern, especially when the allegations involve a member of the security forces. The public has an absolute right to trust that law enforcement will protect those they serve and ensure their safety. When that trust is violated, it makes it more difficult for our fellow police and federal officers to maintain the trust of the community. “
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