Police officers who were accused of violently arresting a deaf man — pepper-spraying and striking him — will not face charges, according to WABC-TV.
In a Monday press release, Passaic County Prosecutor Camelia M. Valdes said that her office, in conjunction with state Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal’s office, found that no excessive force was used during the man’s arrest.
What are the details of the incident?
The incident occurred on Sept. 28 when Paterson, New Jersey, police officers were forced to restrain a deaf man who was combative.
The incident occurred after police had just made a drug arrest on an area street and were waiting for a tow truck to arrive. An unruly crowd gathered, and that’s when the suspect approached the officers, according to authorities.
Authorities say that the suspect, 42-year-old Raasean Adams, approached officers and threw a lit cigarette at them. According to The Daily Voice, Valdes said Adams “appeared to the police to be intoxicated and was holding a cup of what is believed to be alcohol.”
“Upon approaching the police officers, Adams allegedly attempted to take the keys to the vehicle involved in the narcotics arrest from an officer’s hand,” Valdes added. “The police officers advised Mr. Adams several times to leave the scene but he refused.”
Valdes added that “acquaintances of Mr. Adams pleaded with him to comply,” while bystanders told officers that Adams is a deaf man.
When the officers attempted to arrest Adams, he reportedly resisted. Officers said they were forced to pepper-spray and hit the suspect in an attempt to subdue him.
When arresting officers were finally able to handcuff Adams, he reportedly refused to get into the officers’ patrol car and threw himself on the ground violently.
What happened then?
Video of the arrest went viral on social media, and many users became outraged at the way the Paterson Police would deal with a hearing-impaired man.
However, video footage showed Adams being combative toward the officers and resisting arrest.
Reports say that Adams is no stranger to the law; he’s reportedly been booked into the Passaic County Jail at least 14 times. Adams also reportedly has an arrest record in neighboring Essex County, including three assaults, with one of them involving a deadly weapon.
Authorities charged Adams with aggravated assault on a police officer as well as resisting arrest.
Adams pleaded guilty last week to reduced charges of obstruction, and admitted that he “started to behave in an agitated way while between the police and the motor vehicle, interfering with the officers’ official functions,” according to Valdes.
According to WABC, the officers — though not being charged — could still face disciplinary action, and the department is reviewing its de-escalation training.