Rogue Paterson cops sentenced today
PATERSON – Former city cop Matthew Torres was spared jail time when he was part of the “robbery team” of rogue officers who patrolled Paterson looking for people who they could get away with stealing.
In explaining her decision to sentence Torres to probation, U.S. District Court Judge Katharine Hayden cited Torres’ lack of direct involvement in the assaults that occurred during the shakedowns as her “genuine moral distress.” about wrongdoing and the fact that he came forward to reveal the crimes to authorities before charges were brought against him.
Hayden described the Paterson Police Department as being a place during crimes that was “bankrupt in simple human values”.
“Yes, he let Paterson down,” Judge said of Torres, “but the police department also let him down and others.”
Toledo was the third of five convicted ex-cops to face sentencing Thursday as authorities end one of the worst scandals in Paterson Police Department history. Torres in 2019 admitted to taking $800 from a passenger in a car he illegally stopped in December 2017.
“I’m not a bad person, I’ve done bad things,” Torres, 33, told the hearing.
Torres told the court that at one point he aspired to become chief of police. He said he tried to be transferred out of the “robbers squad”, but his requests were denied. Torres also said he tried to leave Paterson to join the Woodland Park Police Department, but was unsuccessful.
During the proceedings, the judge spoke about what she called an “exceptional” letter that Torres submitted to the court, a letter in which he expressed remorse for mistreating people. “I wish I could tell them face to face how sorry I am,” Hayden said, quoting the letter.
Hayden also read part of a letter from Torres’ wife in which she spoke of her husband’s struggles as a Paterson cop being “survival of the fittest”.
Torres now works as a restaurant manager, while his wife is a nurse. The judge noted that the couple got engaged and married while the federal investigation unfolded. The couple have two young children.
Torres’ attorney John Whipple said the young officer was drawn into the criminal plot “reluctantly”.
But Assistant United States Attorney Thomas Kearny said: “Mr. Torres fell for the easy money lure.
PATERSON — Former City Policeman Eudy Ramos was sentenced Thursday to 24 months in federal prison for shaking known drug dealers he illegally arrested and regularly assaulting suspects who tried to flee.
Ramos was the second of five convicted ex-cops to face sentencing Thursday as authorities end one of the worst scandals in Paterson Police Department history.
Ramos previously admitted to stealing $10,000 in one instance in 2017 and taking smaller amounts in other cases, as well as beating suspects on multiple occasions.
“It’s always been my dream to be a police officer and to serve the city where I grew up,” Ramos said during his sentencing.
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But at one point he said he had “deviated” from this mission. “There is no one else responsible for my wrongdoings but myself,” Ramos said. “I wish I could go back in time and undo it, but I can’t.”
After losing his police job, Ramos started driving a truck and eventually opened his own trucking business with five 18-wheelers, his lawyer said.
Former municipal policeman Jonathan Bustios was sentenced to 24 months in federal prison on Thursday morning for robbing people he unlawfully stopped and searched in Paterson from 2016 to 2018.
Bustios, who has worked at an IHOP restaurant since losing his police job, apologized for his crimes and attributed them to the culture within the Paterson Police Department.
“I feel like the culture of the whole department was a certain way,” Bustios said during his sentencing hearing. “At that time, I didn’t feel like everything we were doing was wrong. I felt like it was the way of the department. I regret everything. Everything I’ve done, I regret.”
U.S. District Court Judge Katharine Hayden noted that Bustios’ could have been up to 37 months, but said she decided to give him less time than that because of his cooperation with investigators. federal.
Imposing the two-year sentence, the judge said, “I can’t go any lower than that because of the impact on the community.”
Hayden said during the proceedings that the culture at IHOP where Bustios now works was “1,000% better than” what he encountered as a Paterson police officer. Hayden said she believed Bustios’ crimes were a product of this culture.
Assistant United States Attorney Jihee Suh praised Bustios’ cooperation with the FBI, noting that he was one of two defendants in the case who did not delete incriminating messages from their phones. Suh said Bustios was the first police officer suspected in the case to begin working with authorities.
“It was only with the cooperation of Mr. Bustios that the full extent of the plot became known and the blue wall of silence began to crumble,” Suh said.
Bustios was the first of five convicted ex-cops scheduled for sentencing Thursday as federal authorities shut down one of the worst scandals in Paterson Police Department history.
Bustios pleaded guilty in December 2018 to conspiracy to deprive individuals of their civil rights and extortion, but the United States Attorney’s Office delayed sentencing until he testified last May against Sgt. . Michael Cheff, who oversaw the rogue officers.
In one instance, Bustios admitted to taking a bag containing $1,800 in cash from inside a BMW that he searched, but let the two occupants go free without filing a police report on the incident. In another instance, he said he offered a suspect a deal in which he wouldn’t file any criminal charges in exchange for a gun.
Other former officers await sentencing
After Bustios, Ramos and Torres, the others scheduled for sentencing hearings on Thursday were Frank Toledo and Daniel Pent. Their sentencing was postponed until Friday. Cheff’s sentencing, originally scheduled for Friday, will be Monday, September 12.
The six officers were convicted on two counts that set a maximum total of 30 years in prison, according to press releases from the US Attorney’s office. But those maximum sentences were lowered in sentencing reports that were not made public until Thursday.
Toledo, Pent and Ramos pleaded guilty to conspiring to deprive individuals of their civil rights, using unreasonable and excessive force against individuals in Paterson, and filing a false police report.
Torres pleaded guilty in May 2019 to conspiring to deprive individuals of their civil rights and filing a false police report. Cheff was found guilty of these same two crimes.
The FBI’s investigation into the self-proclaimed ‘robber squad’ began in late 2016 and continued for several years, with the first arrests – those of Bustios and Ramos – taking place in April 2018. The other four rogue cops have were charged with their crimes in a series of arrests that spanned the next 21 months.
The federal investigation also resulted in federal prison for two Paterson cops who were not directly involved with the “Robbery Squad.” FBI agents investigating the illegal shakedowns learned of allegations that another patrol officer, Ruben McAusland, was selling drugs from his Paterson police vehicle while on duty.
With the help of a confidential informant, the FBI gathered video and audio recordings of McAusland’s drug sales over the months and arrested him in April 2018, nine days after Bustios and Ramos were arrested.
McAusland’s arrest led to another case when investigators found a video recording on his cellphone of him and his police partner, Roger Then, assaulting a suicide patient in a hospital emergency room in March 2018.
McAusland was sentenced to 66 months in federal prison after admitting to drug trafficking and the hospital attack. He is currently being held at the Federal Correctional Institution in Milan, Michigan, and is scheduled for release in March 2024. He later served a six-month prison sentence for his role in the ER incident and was released early 2020.
Joe Malinconico is editor of Paterson Press. E-mail: [email protected]