Jury tells judge it's deadlocked in trial of Camden cop accused of hitting man, falsifying records

Steve Tawa
June 10, 2019 - 4:53 pm

Steve Tawa/KYW Newsradio

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CAMDEN, N.J. (KYW Newsradio) — There was a snag in the first full day of deliberations in the trial of a suspended Camden County police officer accused of using excessive force during a 2018 arrest, in which surveillance and police body camera video captured the encounter.  

Judge Robert Kugler read aloud the jury foreman's first note, "We are deadlocked. People are adamant on both sides. How long do we need to go before there is a mistrial?" 

Related: Jury deliberations resume in case of Camden officer accused of hitting man, falsifying records

Federal prosecutors suggested reading a third circuit guideline for deadlocked juries. 

The defense wanted a mistrial declared. 

The judge told them, "Stay at it. Don't surrender your beliefs. Listen to the others, re-examine viewpoints based on the evidence and decide for yourself."

Then the judge added, "don't feel rushed or pressured, but take more time."

During the trial, federal prosecutors told jurors Nicholas Romantino abused his power and betrayed his badge by not only punching Edward Minguela in the head 12 times, but also falsifying his incident report to make it look like Minguela was resisting arrest. 

His defense lawyer, during his closing arguments, reminded jurors that the officers were responding to a man with a gun, which Minguela fit the description and it all happened in under 20 seconds. 

Jurors will resume deliberations Tuesday morning.