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Protest at City Council After NBPD Punctures Arrested Man’s Lung

Dion Napier's Lawyer Says He Was Taken to Hospital From NBPD Headquarters, Police Charged Him With Nearly a Dozen Offenses
City Hall
City Hall Charlie Kratovil

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—In the early morning hours of December 8, city police officers chased down a city resident, and punctured his lung while making an arrest, according to the man's attorney.

The New Brunswick community is organizing a response to the injuries sufferred by 34-year-old Dion Napier at the hands of officers with the New Brunswick Police Department (NBPD).

That response is expected to be seen and heard at the City Council meeting scheduled for 6:30pm on December 16.  The public meeting will be held at City Hall, 78 Bayard Street.

According to Napier's lawyer, the city resident was "brutally beaten" by city police on Throop Avenue, just four blocks south of the backyard where city police shot and killed Barry Deloatch, an unarmed city resident in 2011.

Police say the arrest occurred following a foot pursuit with officers Jonathan Rivera and Michael Powers.

Hours after his arrest, Napier was hospitalized and diagnosed with a punctured lung, and was never taken to county jail, according to Davis.

"They found him on the floor, holding his side, screaming," Davis said.

Napier is now a free man, recovering from his injuries and out on $35,000 bail.  But he faces a slew of criminal charges, including:

  • Resisting Arrest by Flight
  • Resisting Arrest by Physical Force
  • Obstructing Administration of Law
  • Tampering with Evidence
  • Possession of a Prescription Legend Drug
  • Possession of Marijuana
  • Possession of Heroin
  • Possession with the Intent to Distribute Heroin
  • Possession with the Intent to Distribute CDS in a School Zone
  • Possession with the Intent to Distribute CDS within 500 feet of a Public Park.

Police Captain JT Miller declined to confirm if the incident was being investigated internally.

"I will not comment on any possible or ongoing Internal Affairs investigations." said Miller.

According to police radio transmissions, the foot pursuit began shortly after an officer asked for dispatchers to "look up" Napier at approximately 1:05 am.

Three minutes later, the response to the inquiry was that Napier had a warrant out of New Brunswick.  Police had also asked for a lookup on another man, whose name turned up "negative all around."

But the foot pursuit soon became the focus, at about 1:12am, according to the police transmissions.

"Foot pursuit.  Down Delavan.  Delavan & Throop," says one officer as he chased someone, identifying himself with NBPD unit #970.

Seconds later, a man is in custody, according to the NBPD transmissions.

Police have not confirmed whether or not additional arrests were made besides Napier, or addressed when and if Napier was hospitalized.

Another thing that is still not clear is when Napier's lung was punctured.  For a brief period during the arrest, an officer is missing, according to the recordings.

"We got one in custody," says one officer, at about 1:13am, according to the transmissions.

"Powers, where are you?" asks another voice authoritatively, but an answer is not forthcoming for at least a minute.

Police eventually confirmed they had a prisoner outside 173 Throop Avenue, near the D'Palace bar.

But there are also irregular radio communications after Napier is presumably on his way to police headquarters.

"234, 295," says an officer, summoning two additional NBPD units several minutes later.  "Hey, just check him real good when you throw him in the cell... The Lieutenants are standing by until these guys get in there."

As we reported, police soon hope to make radio recordings like this a secret, keeping them from the public for months or years.