Police officer accused of assaulting patient at New Jersey hospital indicted on federal civil rights charges

A federal grand jury indicted police officer Roger Then on Sept. 21 for several offenses arising from the assault of a patient at St. Joseph's Regional Medical Center in Paterson, N.J., according to the Department of Justice.

Mr. Then was charged in a five-count indictment with violating an individual's civil rights and other offenses. He was arrested and charged by criminal complaint in May for allegedly assaulting a patient at St. Joseph's Medical Center in March.

According to the criminal complaint, Mr. Then and another police officer, Ruben McAusland, responded to an emergency call from a man who tried to take his own life at his New Jersey home March 5. The officers then went to St. Joseph's Medical Center, where the man was taken for treatment.

Federal prosecutors said hospital surveillance footage shows the patient, while in a wheelchair, throw an object down the hall. The two officers then physically assaulted the man, according to the complaint.

Prosecutors said Mr. Then and Mr. McAusland pushed the patient's wheelchair and punched him in the face. As the man fell, Mr. Then allegedly grabbed him by the back of the neck and pushed him to the ground.

A second video, which was allegedly taken by Mr. Then using his cellphone, shows Mr. McAusland put on a pair of hospital gloves and strike the patient, who was lying on his back in a hospital bed, twice across the face. As a result of the assaults, the patient suffered several injuries to his face, including an eye injury that required surgery, according to the DOJ.

In June, Mr. McAusland pleaded guilty to depriving the patient of his civil rights. He also pleaded guilty to stealing drugs from a crime scene last year and then selling them. He is awaiting sentencing.

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