Feds to re-try Camden cop for alleged excessive force of suspect in 2018

David Madden
June 19, 2019 - 12:15 pm
Camden County police

Courier-Post, file

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CAMDEN, N.J. (KYW Newsradio) — A suspended Camden police officer will now face a second trial in federal court on charges that he used excessive force to take down a suspect a year-and-a-half ago. 

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason Richardson told Judge Robert Kugler they would re-try Officer Nicholas Romantino after a jury last week failed to decide if he went too far by hitting Edward Minguela a dozen times outside a Fairview liquor store in February 2018. 

Minguela matched a police radio description of a man with a gun outside a liquor store. However, it turned out he was unarmed. 

Minguela put his arms up and did not resist the officers, according to video footage, but Romantino allegedly punched Minguela several times in the head after three officers wrestled him to the ground.

When Minguela was taken into custody, he was charged with resisting arrest and obstruction.

The beating was also captured on camera.

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The jury cleared Romantino last week on a lesser charge of filing a false police report, in which he explained the "confrontation" that led up to the beating.

Richardson plans to bring in his own expert witness on the use of force. They did not offer one during the first trial, but the defense did.

Defense attorney Daniel Rybeck said during a brief status hearing in Camden that he wants potential jurors at the re-trial questioned on their opinions regarding police use of force, given recent media coverage of similar incidents.

The judge took that request under advisement, as he scheduled the retrial for Sept. 9.