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CARTERET, NJ—Police Officer Joseph Reiman was suspended and charged with three counts of second-degree, official misconduct after allegedly beating a local teenager and failing to activate the camera that was a part of his uniform.
That assault occurred shortly after the 16-year-old victim was involved in a crash on May 31, and led to serious injuries for the teen, and serious charges for Reiman.
In addition to the official misconduct counts, Reiman also faces a third-degree aggravated assault charge.
Joseph Reiman is one of at least two Carteret cops that are brothers of the Mayor of Carteret since 2002, Dan Reiman.
He's also the third local police officer to face criminal charges brought by Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew Carey this year, following in the footsteps of a South Amboy Police Department Detective and an officer with the Sayreville Police Department.
Carey's office announced the charges against Reiman on Friday, June 9, nine days after the brutal beating sent the teenager to the hospital.
Reiman was arrested that same day, but was released after prosecutors did not file a motion seeking to detain him while he awaits his day in court.
According to the press release from the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office (MCPO), Reiman was charged following an investigation led by MCPO Detective Andreea Ziib, and Captain Michael Dammann of the Carteret Police Department (CPD).
Dammann told New Brunswick Today that, since being charged, Reiman has been suspended without pay, and has not since made any contact with the CPD.
Reiman was allegedly involved in a motor vehicle pursuit involving the teenager, who was behind the wheel of a car that eventually crashed into a utility pole guide wire.
During the wreck, the air bags immediately deployed, and shortly thereafter, the teen then exited the vehicle when he was allegedly stopped by Reiman, according to the MCPO.
“Reiman, now on top of the teen, punched the teen several times with a closed fist,” reads the MCPO press release. "Following the assault, an ambulance was not called to the scene. Instead the teenager was placed in a patrol car."
During this same investigation, it was also determined that Officer Reiman failed to turn on his body-worn camera.
However, a camera located within Reiman's patrol car did manage to capture a lot of what happened.
On June 1, the victim's father, Monte Stewart, released photos of his hospitalized son on Facebook along with a statement on the incident.
“I never been so heart broken in my life looking at my son's face… this is how Carteret Police are treating our kids… we as a community have to put a stop to this police brutality in Carteret,” wrote Stewart.
Many community members posted comments supporting Stewart, and his son. There were also several statements of outrage at how the community feels they are being treated by police.
Meanwhile, under the state's new "bail reform" law, Reiman's freedom is subject to several "pre-trial monitoring" conditions until the matter is resolved:
- Shall not commit any offense during the period of release.
- Shall avoid all contact with an alleged victim of the crime.
- Shall avoid all contact with the following witnesses who may testify concerning the offense: Any members of the Carteret Police Department
- Shall report to Pretrial Services as follows: telephonically once every other week and in person once every other week
- Shall refrain from possessing a firearm, destructive device, or other dangerous weapon.
- Shall abide by specified restrictions on places of abode as follows: The Boro of Carteret New Jersey
- Shall satisfy the following other conditions: Defendant is to surrender weapons,
- Weapons ID, Police ID, and Badge to Carteret Police Department, Court orders that the Carteret Police Department accepts possession of all of the defendants weapons for safekeeping, defendants brother is to surrender all weapons previously given to him to by the defendant to the Carteret Police Department within 48 hours.
- Must appear for all scheduled court proceedings.
- Must immediately notify Pretrial Services of any change of address, telephone number, or other contact information.
The Carteret Mayor's Office was reached out to for comment, but did not respond.
The MCPO is prosecuting the criminal charges, and has declined to release the video of the incident.
However, there has also been a referral to the United States Attorney's Office, regarding potential violations of the civil rights of the victim.
Reiman is scheduled to appear at a pre-indictment conference in the courtroom of Judge Alberto Rivas on July 27 at the Middlesex County Courthouse in New Brunswick.